Green for Oil Thinner - Non-toxic solvent?ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
Question asked 2018-05-25 11:07:44 ...
Most recent comment 2018-06-08 03:05:54
Health and Safety
Solvents and Thinners
Art Conservation Topics
There is a recent thread on the WetCanvas forum discussing the relatively new 'non-toxic' solvent produced by Sennelier under their Green for Oil Range:
They claim that it is non-toxic and apart from the warning that it shouldn't be ingested there doesn't appear to be any warnings online about ventilation or toxicity. I was under the impression that all solvents were toxic to some extent, but if a well known brand can market this product and without any warning information then maybe it is non-toxic?
There is speculation on the WetCanvas thread that due to it's more oil like feel and very slow evaporation rate that it is likely a 'biodiesel' - a methyl ester of fatty acids. I am not a chemist but if I understand the science correctly:
"Biodiesel is produced from linsed oil through a procescaled transesterifcation , with this proces the higherfaty acids are separated to methyl and ethyl esters usingmethanol and catalyst KOH.Biodiesel fuel has beter properties than that ofpetroleum diesel fuel such as renewable, biodegradable,non–toxic, and esentialy fre of sulfur and aromatics. Thepurpose of transesterification proces is to lower the viscosityof the oil. The viscosity values of linsed oil methyl andethyl ester highly decreases after the transesterificationproces. The viscosity values of vegetable oils vary betwen 27.2 and 53.6mm2/s, whereas those of vegetable oil methylesters betwen 3.59 and 4.63 mm2"
So if this is correct it sounds like it is a very low viscosity oil that can be added in small amounts to thin out oil paint.
I am going to try some out myself, but wondering if anyone hear had any experience with this product or any thoughts on it from a conservation perspective.
It feels to me that there is a growing concern over the toxicity of solvents and the marketing of non-toxic alternatives, which might still have toxicity or archive issues.
Answers and Comments
These are all very interesting points and observations....first I would refer you to an earlier but related thread on the toxicity associated/not associated with spike lavender oil and other "green" solvents being marketed as safe alternatives to turpentine and mineral spirts (the latter being a rather wide and complex category). Kerith Koss Schrager's comment on the thread is particularly relevant here and I will forward your question to her in case she has anything additional to add. In the meantime some of us will try to do a bit more digging and will reach out to Sennelier to see if anyone can share some insight on these products.
Non-toxic is pretty much just a marketing term like organic. There's no real regulatory standard. It just means that there's no research to prove it's toxic. So it could be a chemical that is in fact hazardous and no one has ever done an exposure study on it. In a 5 minute search, I couldn't easily find the ingredients or safety data sheet. I'd be suspicious of any company claiming to be looking out for your health that doesn't make this information readily available. Without any information to prove otherwise it's best to assume solvents are hazardous.
Just a guess (since there's no hint of precise contents), but I assume, since the importer discloses that 'Green for Oils" is in the biosolvent category, it's likely based on methyl soyate or similar. Look up something like Agri-pure AP-406 for more information.
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