Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions can mimic both acute and chronic poisoning and  it is often difficult to distinguish between the two. It is not unusual to have  a low-level chronic health problem either masked or exaggerated by an allergy.  It is important to distinguish between the two because the prevention and  medical treatment is different for each. Substances that cause strong allergic  reactions often have to be eliminated, rather than reduced, because even minimal  exposure can cause a significant reaction.

Despite the symptomatic similarities, many people are able to  distinguish between toxic reactions and allergic reactions. Allergic reactions  are often immediate and usually out of proportion to the type of exposure. A  person using small amounts of turpentine, for example, may react with asthmatic  like symptoms, and when a substitute solvent, such as petroleum distillate, is  used the symptoms are gone. Less severe reactions require professional  assistance to determine the cause.

Excerpts  from ART HARDWARE: The Definitive Guide to Artists’ Materials, by Steven  Saitzyk © 1987 All rights reserved.  Reproduction forbidden without written  permission.