For the longest time, we've been using Gamblin's Gamsol as our choice for what we believed to be the safest odorless paint thinner out there. We knew it wasn't perfect health-wise, and we also knew it wasn't environmentally friendly. But we thought it was the lesser of the solvent evils, and with ventilation and limited use, plus disposing of it safely, we settled.
We know that modern oil paint does not have a level of toxicity to be concerned about. It doesn't emit fumes, and because it is bound with plant-based oils, its pigments don't spread in the air and cannot be inhaled. Even the more questionable pigments like Cadmium and Cobalt are non-soluble, and their particles are large enough not to go through the skin and onto your bloodstream.
Solvents, though, are a different story.
Odorless mineral spirits have been around since the 1920s. Derived from mineral spirits, their first use was in dry cleaning. This kind of petroleum distillate is safer than turpentine and other petroleum-based types but's it's by far perfect health-wise and environmentally-wise. We learned that prolonged and heavy exposure through inhalation, in fact, can cause permanent organ damage.
In addition to health hazards, the petroleum-based nature of the solvent makes it environmentally unfriendly. We keep any remains in jars and take them to hazardous materials centers to be appropriately disposed of. But that doesn't take away the fact that it's not precisely carbon-neutral. We've also learned that the gaseous fumes evaporating from odorless mineral spirits contribute to depleting the upper ozone.
We've been searching for a better alternative.
Citrus-based solvents are a great option to replace harmful and toxic odorless mineral spirits. They are 100% natural, safe to use, don't cause organ damage through inhalation, don't pollute the air, and can be disposed of safely because they are bio-degradable (we'll still take them to (Hazardous Material Centers).