Indoor Painting: Avoiding Health Concerns Caused by Painting

health concerns in paint

In the process of building a house or improving a home, homeowners can’t help but face several house works that need to be done; jobs concerning construction, carpentry, as well as, painting are some of these. In one way or another, these home improvement processes pose health risks to people. Paint, in particular, has gained some concerns over the health risks it poses to people. That being said, there have been recommendations as to how to paint new plaster or how to paint, in general, in a safer manner.

Health Concerns

  • Lead and Mercury

Perhaps, many of us have witnessed news reports about the dangers of the two heavy metals: lead and mercury. Fortunately, these two highly toxic metals are no longer used in today’s painting products. However, walls that were painted with products from before 1990 may have both of these present. Thus, a professional should be hired when removing lead and mercury-based paint.

  • Additives

Another potential risk to people’s health are paint additives. In order to kill bacteria and mildew, preservatives and even pesticides are actually added to the point. Understandably, these may pose harm to people.

  • Sillica

Most, if not all, latex paints contain crystalline silica, a compound that is considered as a human carcinogen. When this compound is inhaled, it can lead to silicosis, lung disease and even cancer. Because of this reason, a respirator for protection needs to be worn when dealing with paints that contain this.

  • VOCs

VOCs or volatile organic compounds are actually vapor that are also harmful when inhaled. Usually, petroleum-based and oil-based paints contain these VOCs. Health concerns such as fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea as well as eye irritation are often associated with VOCs.

tips for safe painting

Tips for Safer Painting Experience

  • Children, pregnant women and people with breathing difficulties should be kept away from the area during and after the painting process for 2-3 days
  • Always use the necessary protective tools (respirator, goggles, gloves, etc.)
  • Choose water-based paint over oil or petroleum based ones
  • Be extra careful when dealing with oil-based paint as they also impose fire risks
  • Avoid spray paint
  • Read labels carefully and choose paint that has the lowest VOCs possible
  • Follow the instructions carefully
  • Use the appropriate paint for the appropriate place
  • Make sure air conditioning systems are off and protected with plastic
  • Keep the area well-ventilated by keeping windows and doors open during and after painting
  • Take a break for fresh air frequently
  • Turn on exhaust fans if applicable
  • Place the hazardous materials (paint and others) somewhere only authorized people can access
  • Keep the paint products tightly closed when not in use
  • Dispose the paint and other hazardous materials properly

Bottom Line

Paint products need to be handled by professionals, as much as possible. In order to avoid the dangers that paint imposes, the right protective gears and the right protocols should be followed. Indeed, it is one thing to improve homes and it is another thing to improve safety of our health.

More Ideas for Home Improvement

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