Paint fumes can hang around in the air (off-gas) for weeks after it has been applied. And the volatile organic chemicals that many brands contain are one of the largest culprits of poor indoor air quality.
Home and Garden TV continues to remind us that painting is one of the quickest, cheapest, and practical ways to give a face lift to an indoor space. So here are 3 easy-to-do things that can help you eliminate the fumes and avoid both the acute and long-term health problems associated with frequent exposure.
K eep the Air Moving —- This can be done in a number of ways. If the space has windows, open them. Put a box fan in with the fan blowing the air to the outside. This will draw the fumes out of the room.
Open doors as well, particularly if they lead to the outside. Turn off air conditioning and heating while doing this to avoid having your system heat or cool the outside.
Paint Greener — This does not mean that you need to use the color green, but it is a suggestion for exploring more user-friendly paints that do not contain the volatile organic chemicals that have typically been given with paints.
There are low-voc paints that have only a fraction of the volatile organic chemicals. They are typically more expensive, but well worth the extra dollars in terms of minimizing the smell and fumes.
These types of paintings are particularly important to use in spaces that are being painted for babies and children. Pregnant women should also use this type of paint, and steer clear of the area until it dries completely.
Avoid oil-based paints. They contain 93% per gallon of petrochemicals. In fact, the state of California restricted the manufacture of this type of paint back in January 2003.
Use A Carbon Based Filter — Long recognized as the best type of filter to remove gaseous pollutants, any filter that is to be effective at eliminating volatile organic chemicals must use carbon.
Potassium iodide makes carbon even more effective at removing the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that have typically found in paints. Filtration can scrub the air and keep it clear as paint continues to off-gas.
Short-term exposure to the chemicals in paint is known to cause headaches, dizziness, and dry throat, watering eyes, and coughing. Studies have shown that repeated and / or long term exposure can cause cancer in humans.
By taking these 3 precautions you can by-pass the hazards and enjoy your newly painted space.