# How does LC50 translate to “real world” exposure for paint thinner?

Last year I started oil painting, which means (in part) that I use paint thinner for working with and/or cleaning brushes. I recently became concerned about my exposure to the vapor from the paint thinner I use, so I requested a toxicology report from the manufacturer. In the document it specifies that the summated $\mathrm{LC}_{50}$ for the product is 21400 mg$\cdot$ m$^{-3}$.

My (basic) understanding of this is that 50% of test subjects will die with a single exposure at the above level; however, I've really no idea how that translates to "real life" and wonder if someone can shed some light on it.

I'm painting in a reasonably small room (around 3 m x 5 m) with windows open, so I'm essentially trying to determine if this is safe or not, or whether I should be using breathing apparatus and/or move to a different room.

This is a link to the whole document which I received from the manufacturer which contains the substance and other information.

You are right $\mathrm{LC_{50}}$ is where $50~\%$ of subjects will die. for a room $3~\mathrm{m} \times 3~\mathrm{m} \times 5~\mathrm{m}$ to reach a concentration of $21400~\mathrm{mg/m^3}$ you would have to evaporate $963~\mathrm{g}$ of the material ($3~\mathrm{m} \times 5~\mathrm{m} \times 3~\mathrm{m} \times 21.4 ~\mathrm{g/m^3} = 963~\mathrm{g}$) within a sealed room. Unless your material is very volatile it is unlikely you will even be close to reaching this concentration. That said however it does not mean that this is not a lower concentration that could kill a more susceptible body, nor that the prlonged smell won't make you feel sick. It only says at this concentration you have a $50~\%$ chance of dying if exposed at the concentration for a specified (though in this case we don't know how long) amount of time.
The $\mathrm{LD_{50}}$ and $\mathrm{LC_{50}}$ (lethal dose and lethal concentration) values are measures for acute toxicity as you noted. Long-term exposure is generally not depicted well by these acute toxicity measures. A.K. pointed out, how improbable it is to have a serious risk of acute poisoning. (Also note that the vapour pressure is given as $2~\mathrm{mmHg}$, which is $2.7~\mathrm{mbar}$ in proper units, meaning that evaporation will be very slow at ambient temperature and pressure.)