White spirit is pure evil.

This has to come somewhere on everyone's list of least favourite chemicals, just above Agent Orange and below cyanide. The reasons for hating it are manifold.

But first, to try and keep this writeup on topic, what is it? It's a colourless liquid, a mixture of minerals obtained through the distillation of petroleum. Yes, like petrol. No, it can't fuel things. That last point is a very good thing. You see, white spirit can be used for two things. It can strip paint and clean brushes: having been using it for this exact purpose just recently, I am well aware that it kicks ass at doing these things. However, it can also kill things, which it is disturbingly efficient about. Drink it and you're practically guaranteed a toetag (this is why they have those kiddy-proof caps which I could open when I was 5 to get at Calpol. Sweet, sweet Calpol). It kills fish, so you can't dump it in water or even drains-no, you can't get white spirit out of water at water treatment plants (think about getting piss out of a swimming pool. Now imagine if the piss were clear. There's an idea of how hard it is to get out of water). White spirit is also almost entirely composed of volatile organic compounds, which escape and cause atmospheric pollution (although this happens in some paints as well). Spill it on your skin and it stings like a fucker if you have any open wounds (Mind you I have no idea why you would have any open wounds and be playing with white spirit) and if you don't it dries out your skin and can cause allergies. Inhale its vapour (and it's hard not to) and you'll probably get lung damage. And it's highly flammable, and probably gives out an insane amount of CO2 when burnt.

Yup, white spirit is a complete bitch.

It's a bastard to keep from kids, since it looks like water and in a 6-year-old's eyes, well, looks like water == is water (one thing methylated spirit has going for it-anybody who can mistake that for water shouldn't be alive by now anyway). Again, this is why they have the caps. Unfortunately, the only real alternative is turpentine, which has been known to cause brain damage, and stinks worse than white spirit...somehow. This is the reason why white spirit is in such a widespread use: it's marketed as a turpentine substitute with half the smell and a few thousand times the devastating environmental effects.

So in short...you don't wanna use this chemical too much. If you can stand the smell and the loss of a few brain cells, use turps. Just try and avoid this stuff if you can.
Apparently this is also called white gas and contains naptha. Cheers, broken!