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Jun 10

Removing Paint Fumes – 3 Ways To Minimize Your Risk From Paint Fumes

Paint fumes are one of the biggest culprits of polluted indoor air. In fact the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists paint as one of the top five environmental hazards.

These fumes can trigger symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, dry throat, burning and watering eyes,and severe cases nausea and vomiting. These airborne chemicals are particularly hazardous to pregnant women. But because painting is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to make-over a room, few of us will avoid coming in contact with paint.

Here are 3 practical ways to avoid prolonged exposure and the acute and long-term health effects paint fumes can cause.

Ventilate Properly–Opening windows and doors to move air through the space will prevent fumes from building up to a toxic level. Be careful that ventilating does not create too much of a draft and cause unwanted particles to stick to and dry on the painted surface.

Place a box fan in the window that pulls air out of the room. Leave this on throughout the painting and overnight to fully exhaust any lingering fumes. Close off the heating and air conditioning ducts when you do this so that you are not heating or cooling the room that is being painted.

Use Paints with Fewer Petrochemicals–Petrochemicals, as the name suggests, are made from petroleum and natural gas. Paints with high levels of petrochemicals contain volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) which with high and prolonged exposure can cause cancer in humans.

Oil-based paints contain approximately 93% parts per gallon of petrochemicals while water-based latex paints contain only 15%. There are now newer low-VOC paints available that have less than 100 parts per gallon of petrochemicals.

Painting with a lower level of toxicity will greatly reduce your exposure to hazard. These paints greatly reduce the typical paint smell that usually lingers in your air.

Remove Paint Fumes with a Carbon-Based Air Purifier–Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) contained in paint such as benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene are such a potent pollutant to your indoor air quality. This is because they evaporate so easily into the air, and once the space is painted these chemicals are launched from a huge surface area of walls and ceilings. But even after the paint has dried it often continues to emit hazardous chemicals into your air.

Using an air purifier that contains a carbon-based filter that also has an additive that is specifically designed to trap volatile organic chemicals is one of the best steps you can take towards protecting you and your family against the ongoing hazards of paint fumes.

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