Not all paints are safe for people with serious health problems, young children, and pregnant women. Oil-based paints and other petroleum-based products have vapors that are harmful when breathed (volatile organic compounds), or VOCs. VOC’s in paints can cause headaches, eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Long-term exposure can lead to more serious health problems like central nervous system, liver, and kidney damage.

Paint vapors pose a high risk for the elderly, young children and women that are pregnant. Formaldehyde, a VOC commonly found in paint, is a probable carcinogen. Some of the solvents in paints that result in high levels of VOCs are ethylene, toluene, xylene, acetone, and methylene chloride. Additives can also pose potential health risks to people with sensitive allergies. They may need to order low-toxic paints.

Preservatives and pesticides are added to kill mildew and bacteria. Latex paints contain crystalline silica, which when inhaled causes lung disease such as silicosis and possibly cancer. To avoid breathing in silica, wear a respirator approved for protection against crystalline silica dust. Try to use the lowest VOC paint possible when painting.

Colors Matter can assist with paint that is non-toxic and environmentally safe for the interior of your home or business.

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