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  • Writer's pictureDavid Brodsky

Article response- Healthline.com and Paint Fumes

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

This blog is my response to Healthline.com's article on paint fumes and health effects https://www.healthline.com/health/paint-fumes#pregnancy-risks.


The first line of defense against paint fumes is to purchase products that have no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which have short and long-term health effects. I've always felt that the risk here is quite small for homeowners who are likely not exposed to significant amounts of VOCs after painting is done. However, in this article they write this:


"A study published in 2010 investigated VOC levels in children’s bedrooms. They found that higher levels of a specific type of VOC called propylene glycol and glycol ethers led to a greater likelihood of conditions, such as asthma, eczema, and rhinitis."


If VOC exposure is related to the development of certain health conditions, then significant precautions need to be taken when choosing paint and when applying it.


Avoid lead-based paint. Apparently, it's common in houses built before 1978. But really, how would one analyze paint that one has to remove or sand for lead? I don't see any issues with lead exposure if paint is scraped off. However, any sanding done during a paint project will throw respirable particles into the air. At this juncture, I think it's wise to always work with a p100 when doing sanding work, particularly when you don't know what you're sanding.


They recommend ventilation and respirator usage when painting to reduce VOC exposure. However, truthfully given the toxicity of these chemicals and the seemingly small amounts require to harm someone, the best course of action is to choose a safe paint.




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