Residual mineral spirits

Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 12:13 pm
A friend put mineral spirits on her wood cutting board. It was on application on a new board and then she washed it with soap and water. I've suggested that she not use it anyway, ever, as a cutting board for food.

Help from Anyone with more knowledge would be much appreciated.

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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 5,325 • Replies: 7
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Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 01:09 pm
Mineral spirits aka white spirits:


White spirit is mainly classed as an Irritant.

White spirit has a fairly low acute toxicity by inhalation of the vapour, dermal (touching the skin) and oral routes (ingestion). However, acute exposure can lead to central nervous system depression resulting in lack of coordination and slowed reactions. Exposure to very high concentrations in enclosed spaces can lead to general narcotic effects (drowsiness, dizziness, nausea etc...) and can eventually lead to unconsciousness. Oral ingestion presents a high aspiration hazard. Prolonged or repeated skin exposure over a long period of time can result in severe irritant dermatitis, also called contact dermatitis. It is highly recommended that skin exposure is kept to a minimum by use of gloves and that hands are washed after coming into contact with it. Occasional exposure to skin is highly unlikely to cause any problems.

Exposure to an average white spirit concentration of 240 mg/m3 (40 ppm) for more than 13 years could lead to chronic Central nervous system effects. White spirit is implicated in the development of "chronic toxic encephalopathy" among house painters.

Owing to the volatility and low bioavailability of its constituents, white spirit, although it is moderately toxic to aquatic organisms, is unlikely to present significant hazards to the environment. It should not however, be purposely poured down the sink or freshwater drain if avoidable. It should be disposed of correctly wherever possible.
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Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 01:29 pm
unfortunately "mineral spirits" has a varied definition. The one in which no benzene or cyclics are present must be certified as safe for food contact surfaces. Most mineral spirits still contain some benzene and I would stay away from them for any food surfaces. . Benzene and toluene have distinctive odors.
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 01:56 pm
is toluene the one that is/was used in airplane (model) glue?
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 01:58 pm
Thanks, BFN & FM.
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Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 03:01 pm
airplane glue smell is the way to best describe toluene.
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Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 03:31 pm
It depends.

As FM said, there are certain chemicals sometimes found in mineral spirits not approved with food use but mineral spirits do flash off.

The oil for cutting boards here comes with mineral spirits.

Here is the MSDS for mineral spirits
Swallowing small amounts of this material during normal handling is not likely to cause harmful effects.
Swallowing large amounts may be harmful. This material can get into the lungs during swallowing or
vomiting. This results in lung inflammation and other lung injury.

If it were me, I would leave it out in a well vented open area above 60 degrees for a couple of days to completely flash, then wash it well with warm soapy water a couple of times before oiling it.

You could resurface the board by sanding it to get rid of any pores that may have picked up spirits.
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Mr Stillwater
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 12:16 am
Straight ethanol will also remove any traces.
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