Solvents can be found in things like paints, pesticides, air fresheners, cleaning products, personal care products, nail varnish removers, stain removers, rubbers, glues, adhesives, synthetic resins, dry-cleaning clothes (perchloroethylene) etc.
There are many different solvent chemical including: methyl-ethyl ketone, acetone, acetonitrile, benzene, dioxane, styrene, toluene, xylene, carbon tetrachloride, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chlorobenzene, chloroform, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene), 1,1,1-trichlroethane (methyl chloroform), trichloroethylene, aliphatic hydrocarbons (n-hexane, n-heptane, n-octane etc.) and glycol ethers e.g. 2-butoxyethanol.
Some of these chemicals (e.g. benzene, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, 1-4 dioxane, perchloroethylene, styrene, trichloroethylene etc.) have been linked to health problems such as cancer. Glycol ethers have been linked to: sperm damage, fetotoxicity, reduced female fertility, acute tubular necrosis, congenital defects, craniofacial defects etc. Many solvents are strong neurotoxins and can also exacerbate asthma symptoms.