An Overview on Common Organic Solvents and Their Toxicity

Dirgha Raj Joshi *

Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, Korea University Sejong Campus, Sejong, Republic of Korea.

Nisha Adhikari

Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Wonkwang University, Republic of Korea.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Organic solvents are known as carbon-based solvents and their general property is primarily based on their volatility, boiling point, the molecular weight and color. Having enormous hazards associated with the organic solvents, they are used for millions of purposes which alert us to think more on its toxicity points. Almost all of the solvents are hazardous to health, if swallowed or inhaled more than the limit quantity and on contact to the skin most of them cause irritation. Some of the common solvents are acetone, ethyl acetate, hexane, heptane, dichloromethane, methanol, ethanol, tetrahydrofuran, acetonitrile, dimethylformamide, toluene, dimethylsulfoxide etc. Researchers, scientists, workers in the chemical industry and research institutes use these solvents on regular basis leading them to be affected in major aspects. But also, the nearby persons are affected by the contamination to the soil, water, air etc. If constantly exposed with solvents, it will badly affect the function of CNS and other body parts. The level of impact, sign and symptoms will depend on concentration, time, duration, frequency and nature of solvents, leading to common effects like headache, dizziness, tiredness, blurred vision, behavioral changes, unconsciousness, and even(Zimmermann, Mayer et al. 1985) death. To overcome it, the green chemistry concept is growing rapidly, and the solvent selection guide is in practice in many big company and research institute. A researcher or chemical worker is the primary person who works with solvents and they need to consider throughout these things while performing their activities for their own good health and for the sake of the world. The purpose of this review is to provide needed basic knowledge about common organic solvents and their potential toxicities which will alert researchers to think twice and always think for their health as well as for the environment via safe and green practice.

Keywords: Organic solvents, toxicity, acetone, toluene, n-hexane, green chemistry

How to Cite

Joshi, D. R. and Adhikari, N. (2019) “An Overview on Common Organic Solvents and Their Toxicity”, Journal of Pharmaceutical Research International, 28(3), pp. 1–18. doi: 10.9734/jpri/2019/v28i330203.


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