Last update Feb. 12, 2022

White spirit

Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

Petroleum distillate used as a paint thinner, replacing turpentine or turpentine, of vegetable origin, because it is cheaper, less flammable and less toxic.

Acute inhalation may cause respiratory irritation and difficulty, neurological disturbances, and unconsciousness. (Eurotex 2020)

At the date of the last update we have not found published data on its excretion in breast milk or on side effects in infants of mothers exposed to inhalation of this product.

Based on the absence of specific risk phrases in breastfeeding in the safety data sheet of this product and on the fact that it is not carcinogenic or mutagenic (Eurotex 2020, Auschem 2016), it would not be necessary to remove the nursing mother from her workstation, it would be enough that the company ensure adequate ventilation to meet the legal requirements of Occupational exposure limits (OELs) or Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (INSST 2021, Eurotex 2020, Auschem 2016) and the recommended precautionary standards for the worker: face mask, gloves, clothing, protective glasses, etc.  (Eurotex 2020, Auschem 2016)

Breastfeeding must be interrupted for a variable period of time if intoxication in the mother is suspected or the TLVs have been higher than recommended, especially the short-term exposure limit  (TLV-STEL). In these cases, it is necessary to consider performing a toxicological analysis on the mother.

The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risk from low levels of environmental contaminants in human milk, in many cases lower than those in cow's milk or other foods. (OMS, Lapillonne 2021, Díaz 2013, Mead 2008, LaKind 2008, Hoover 1999)

Basis for assessing occupational risk in nursing mothers:

With regard to occupational risks for breastfeeding mothers (INSHT 202, EC Regulation 2008), there are only two risk phrases (H-phrases for hazard) or precaution phrases (P-phrases) that should appear on the product’s safety data sheet:

  • H362 (R64): "May cause harm to breast fed children"
  • P263: "Avoid contact during pregnancy/while nursing”

Six other phrases that should be considered during breastfeeding are related to the carcinogenic, mutagenic or cumulative strength of a product:

  • H350 (ant.R45 y R49): «May cause cancerr»
  • H351 (ant. R40): “Possible carcinogenic effect"
  • H370 (ant. R39): «Causes damage to organs».
  • H371 (ant. R68): "Possible risk of irreversible effects”
  • H372 (ant R48): «Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure».
  • H373 (ant. R33):" May cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure”

If any of these codes appear on the safety data sheet of an industrial product, the nursing mother must be removed from her workstation.

For chemical products that do not contain these codes, companies must comply with the legal requirements of occupational exposure limits (OELs) for each product (INSST 2021), ensuring a good ventilation at the workplace and ensure that the worker complies with the recommended standards of prudence (face mask, gloves, hand washing, changing clothes, etc.) facilitating it.

In addition, according to current European regulations (EC Regulation 2008), when a product is carcinogenic or mutagenic, working nursing mothers must not be exposed to mixtures with concentration limits greater than 0.3%.

See below the information of these related products:

  • Light ligroin (Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.)
  • Turpentine (Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


White spirit belongs to this group or family:


  1. INSHT - Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo. Límites de exposición profesional para agentes químicos en España. - 2022 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Lapillonne A, Bocquet A, Briend A, Chouraqui JP, Darmaun D, Feillet F, Frelut ML, Guimber D, Hankard R, Peretti N, Roze JC, Simeoni U, Turck D, Dupont C; Comité de Nutrition de la Société Française de Pédiatrie (CNSFP).. Pollutants in Breast Milk: A Public Health Perspective - A Commentary of the Nutrition Committee of the French Society of Pediatrics. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2021 Mar 1;72(3):343-346. Abstract
  3. Eurotex. White Spirit. Ficha técnica de seguridad. 2020 Full text (in our servers)
  4. Auschem. Mineral turpentine (White Spirit). Safety Data Sheet. 2016 Full text (in our servers)
  5. Díaz-Gómez NM, Ares S, Hernández-Aguilar MT, Ortega-García JA, Paricio-Talayero JM, Landa-Rivera L; Comité de Lactancia Materna de la Asociación Española de Pediatría.. Contaminantes químicos y lactancia materna: tomando posiciones. [Chemical pollution and breast milk: Taking positions]. An Pediatr (Barc). 2013 Dec;79(6):391.e1-5. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. LaKind JS, Berlin CM, Mattison DR. The heart of the matter on breastmilk and environmental chemicals: essential points for healthcare providers and new parents. Breastfeed Med. 2008 Dec;3(4):251-9. Abstract
  7. Mead MN. Contaminants in human milk: weighing the risks against the benefits of breastfeeding. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Oct;116(10):A427-34. No abstract available. Abstract
  8. . REGLAMENTO (CE) No 1272/2008 DEL PARLAMENTO EUROPEO Y DEL CONSEJO de 16 de diciembre de 2008 sobre clasificación, etiquetado y envasado de sustancias y mezclas. Diario oficial de la Unión Europea. 2008 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Hoover SM. Exposure to persistent organochlorines in Canadian breast milk: a probabilistic assessment. Risk Anal. 1999 Aug;19(4):527-45. Review. Abstract

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