IS VENICE TURPENTINE TOXIC?

Recently a customer emailed us this question: "Is Venice Turpentine as toxic as the turps you would use for oil painting?"  Actually, they are two very different substances.  Venice Turpentine is made from the larch tree, and regular turpentine is made from various pine trees (historically grown in the south), and depending on the quality regular turpentine may be diluted with mineral spirits.  As an aside, regular turpentine has a long history of use with sailing vessels, and Venice Turpentine is used on horse's hoofs for waterproofing. The problem with Venice Turpentine is not the sap from the larch tree.  The problem is that the sap is usually dissolved with mineral oil and petroleum distillates!  In that sense, it is similar to Dammar and Copal, because the problem is not the tree resin - the problem is the solvent.  So, bottom line:  if you are sensitive to, or concerned about mineral spirits, then Venice Turpentine has it as an ingredient.

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