Be Careful When You Paint, You Might Be Affected Longer Than You Would Expect

Painting can be quite a chore; and while it might seem innocuous, it can have serious health implications if the risks aren’t properly mitigated.  Common chemicals in paint can include:
In Flat Latex Paints:
In Alkyd, Oil, and Gloss Paints:
Propylene glycol
Ethylene glycol
Heavy alkanes
Butyl propionate


I’ve personally experienced side-effects from painting during my time working at the PSU Rec Center, without realizing what was happening and why.  Often I would be painting an office or conference room without thinking twice about ventilation masks or keeping the room ventilated.  This had a direct effect on me, but it also can continue to affect those who used the room for up to six months after application.  When new paint is drying, indoor volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s) can be 1000 times higher than outdoor levels.  Paint manufacturers may market their products as “No-VOC” or “VOC-free” but this is a misleading claim.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency has done studies of these paints and found that there can be VOC emissions even still. 
Read more here if you would like to know more about specific VOC levels in various paint types.