Solvents and You

Solvents are chemical products which have the ability to dissolve, suspend or extract other substances without changing their physical properties.

Solvents can be organic (contain carbon) or inorganic (do not contain carbon). As such, water (consisting of hydrogen and oxygen atoms) is classed as an inorganic solvent.

The two main types of organic solvents are hydrocarbons or oxygenated solvents.

There are many different types of solvents with contrasting physical and chemical properties. They can touch the lives of all of us in everyday life as they are used in a large number of applications, ranging from cleaners and degreasers, paints and adhesives to personal care products and pharmaceuticals.

Figures from our colleagues in the European Solvents Industry Group show that the solvents industry can offer the following benefits;

  • Provides employment for more than 10,000 people throughout Europe.
  • Solvents manufacturers across Europe have an estimated combined turnover of €5bn.
  • Approximately 5 million tonnes a year of solvents are sold in Europe, to more than half a million companies.
  • These companies have a combined turnover of €200bn, and employ more than 10 million people.
  • The European solvents industry is committed to meeting the highest safety standards and environmental protection, spending more than €20m per year on research and development.