Health Dangers of Paint Fumes: Why You Need a Paint Fume Extractor

Health Dangers of Paint Fumes: Why You Need a Paint Fume Extractor

There’s nothing like paint to spruce up a room! A dull bedroom is transformed by one red focal wall. Or an outdated kitchen gets an instant facelift with a cheery yellow hue. Yet, there are also dangers lurking inside each handy paint can. So, after deciding on the perfect color for your space, take a moment to consider what chemicals are in your paint can, how they will affect your health, what scientists say about paint and what you can do to protect yourself.


The Chemicals in a Paint Can

If you check the ingredients in a paint can, you’ll see words such as toluene, xylene, acetone, formaldehyde, and benzene. These are examples of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These chemicals are the reason why paint has such a strong odor. VOCs are released into the environment as the paint is put on the wall. Then these chemicals continue to go into the air as the paint is drying. Unfortunately, VOCs don’t just disappear after the paint dries. They can stay in a room for weeks or even months after the paint was first applied.


Health Risks of VOCs

man wearing mask to keep safe-from the dangers of paint fumes

Exposure to VOCs can lead to both short and long-term health problems. Everyone knows that breathing in paint fumes can irritate your nose, eyes, and throat. Once you start breathing in those chemicals, you’ll wish you had a paint fume extractor to take that terrible burning sensation away. If you stay around the paint even longer, you’ll begin to develop another set of symptoms: headache, dizziness and perhaps even nausea and trouble breathing. Finally, being around VOCs for a long time can lead to long-term damage to your kidneys, liver and nervous system.


Scientific Studies about VOCs

There are a few important scientific studies you should be aware of before you paint your house.

  1. This 2010 study found that certain types of VOCs in a child’s bedroom can make it more likely that the child will develop asthma, eczema or rhinitis.
  2. Another group of scientists found that a woman exposed to paint fumes during her first trimester may have an increased chance of having a child with a congenital abnormality. More research is needed about this important issue.


How to Protect Yourself from VOCs

VOCs may sound scary, but there is plenty that you can do to protect yourself from these nasty chemicals. First, you should keep all of the windows open in the room you are painting. Second, you can put fans in the windows to pull contaminated air out of the room. Third, you should wait at least 3 to 5 days after painting before you start using that room again. If you are very sensitive to chemicals, then you need to wait even longer before re-entering that space. Fourth, the fastest way to make sure you are breathing clean air after you paint is to use an air purifier. Commercial air purification devices are powerful can clean and filter all the pollutants out of a space.


Now that you know about VOCs, how they affect your body, and how to keep yourself safe around them, you’re ready to start painting!

Evelyn Rayner