All houses, whether big or small, need regular upkeep from time to time. Among the simplest forms of house renovations or improvements, painting is standard. A fresh coat of paint changes the entire look of a room or a house. But as a coin has the other side too, there are some potential adverse effects of painting on your health. Most of the paint releases some harmful compounds such as fumes into the air. These (VOC) volatile organic compounds release chemical pollutants in the form of gasses. Breathing in such circumstances can affect your health and make you sick. The paint industry is trying its best to prevent paint fumes emissions.
When we look at various categories, paints are available in oil-based or water-based forms. The oil-based paint contains VOC (a solvent) emitted while applying the paint. People prefer using water-based paint instead of conventional paints, also known as VOC latex, to prevent air pollution.
Paint Fumes Harm Your Health
A home improvement project becomes necessary when you want to change your kitchen walls’ color or prepare a nursery for a new member to join your family. VOC paints are likely to pollute the indoor air with short-term and long-term side effects among the different types of paints. The VOCs, including oil-based paint, release vapor or fumes at the time of application and while the paint dries.
Short-Term Effects Of Paint Fumes
Exposure to paint fumes or breathing VOC paint in a poorly ventilated room can lead to various health problems such as irritations in the eyes, headache, a running nose, dizziness, nausea, and breathing problems. Because of these health-related issues, people are switching to water-based paints.
Inhaling VOCs for the long-term or sleeping in a room painted the same day can be harmful. As a general rule, the area recently painted should be left to dry for two to three days. Leave the room with open windows to improve air quality. You should avoid unwanted exposure to paint fumes because they can result in harmful health effects. If high levels of VOCs are inhaled, they can be fatal. This may lead to organ damage and failure of the nervous system. These fumes affect your lungs, liver, and skin considerably and are very dangerous for pregnant women. Studies show that exposure to paint fumes for first-time pregnancy cases can lead to a higher risk of a congenital abnormality or premature delivery. So, if you’re pregnant, avoid painting to prevent the increased birth weight of the unborn baby and other serious concerns. Make sure that you use water-based paint and keep the area well ventilated.
It is advisable that if you plan to paint your house for improvement, you need to be careful and follow some practices to reduce the risk of paint fumes on your health. Always choose indoor paints that generate fewer vapors or fumes. Wear gloves and goggles as a preventive measure, and also wear a mask to lower the risk of chemical reactions. Never buy a high VOC level. Keep the room or the area to be painted well ventilated. Take some breaks while painting to enable yourself to breathe in the fresh air. To allow the fumes to exit from the room, keep the windows open and leave them to dry for two to three days. Use air purifiers to remove the smell of the paint and avoid entering a newly painted room.