Mineral spirits, or white spirits, are a petroleum distillate and can be used as an alternative to turpentine for thinning paint and cleaning paint brushes. To be honest, any thinner with a strong or mild odor bothers me, so I have only used the odorless kind. However, the fact that it is odorless does not mean that it is much healthier to use than mineral spirits or turpentine. In fact, because of the quick evaporation combined with the lack of odor, the artist is not aware of the huge amounts of vapors that he/she is breathing in. Prolonged exposure to even the weaker varieties can cause bouts of sneezing, headaches and general discomfort to the eyes, nose, and throat.