University of Bergen

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Video: Intoxications from organic solvents

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In this short video of 25 seconds we illustrate how organic solvents work. This can be a helpful demonstration in classes where you teach about organic solvents and health effects. Organic solvents dissolve fat. Here we watch two dishes. One contains water, the other contains white spirit. White spirit is a mixture of organic solvents which for instance is used in paint. When oil is added to the water, you see that the oil gathers in bubbles at the top, and the fat does not dissolve in the water. When oil is added to the white spirit, the oil immediately disappears, as it dissolves into the white spirit. This is how organic solvents work – they dissolve fat. This is relevant for humans because our nervous system is normally protected by fat tissue. The organic solvents remove this protection and harm the nerves and the brain.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Reading

Author: University of Bergen