As the US Gov’t tells us, “plan is to treat all paint as hazardous”. Read that dot-gov post.
For first aid involving paint, read this very short post on First Aid for Inhaling Paint Fumes
- The old paints were, and the new ones are not so much toxic as the old ones. Water fowl and other life: yes, it’s very bad so don’t pour latex into the drains (it’s illegal). Let it dry out (here is a powder that solidifies it fast).
- Read this: “Older paint may have lead or other metals in the coloring (pigments), and chemicals that are added to prevent mildew frequently make paint products hazardous.” Oh yes.
- Even though paint fumes from latex will irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, they do not poison us when used as directed. Any irritation should go away once you get into fresh air. If fresh air doesn’t help, take a warm shower and wash your hair.
- Antifreeze in water-based paints were a problem of days gone by. Most good paints no longer contain ethylene glycol. Glycols are mildly toxic if you inhale them. So be sure to use a paint fume and respirator mask when spraying paint of any type. Check out my respirator system: not expensive and awesome.
- Liquid latex paint can be mildly irritating to the skin and mouth. If swallowed, it can cause an upset stomach or even vomiting. Swallowing latex paint does not poison the body, though.
Oil-based paints also can irritate the skin. They can cause stomach upset if swallowed.
- Paint fumes from oil paints do irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, but are not a major source of poison when used as directed. Any irritation should go away once you get into fresh air. If fresh air doesn’t help, take a warm shower and wash your hair.
Solvent-based paints such as alcohol-based primers are high in volatile organic chemicals (VOCs).
VOCs include toluene, xylene, ethanol, and acetone. These cause cancer. If you inhale the fumes you can create headaches, dizziness, and nausea, etc. This occurs in poorly ventilated spaces or in people not wearing a proper respirator. If inhaled on purpose, or “huffed”, to create a high, they can kill you.
Pregnancy: Use caution even though scientists say there is ‘no evidence’ that fumes will harm an unborn child.
Stay away or stay very well-ventilated.