Paint is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to give a room or home a quick makeover. But what do you risk health wise by inhaling paint fumes and how can you eliminate them?
What you risk depends on the paint that was used. Oil paint or any paint that contains volatile organic chemicals has elements in it that evaporate easily into the air. Examples are solvents, thinners that maintain an even consistency, and drying agents that help the paint dry faster. These are often the ingredients that off gas and can make paint fumes so harmful.
You may first notice a headache, watery or burning eyes or nose, dry throat, light headedness, dizziness, or nausea. This is your body’s way of saying get me out of here and away from these paint fumes! Generally these symptoms will disappear if you are only exposed to the fumes for a very short time. But often paint will off gas fumes for weeks, forcing you and all who live in the newly painted space to continue to inhale these fumes over a long period of time.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to these fumes because their respiration is comparatively fast, and their bodies are smaller which means their bodies are subjected to much more of the paint fumes than a healthy adult. Pregnant mothers also risk harm to the developing fetus, and continued exposure can interfere with normal growth and development. Older adults are also more at risk many times because of pre-existing conditions such as heart problems, respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis, and/or an immune system that is in some way compromised.
There are paints available now that contain low and even no volatile organic chemicals. They are more expensive, but certainly worth the extra money for the health advantages they provide. But if you’ve moved into an apartment or newly constructed home, you may not have control over the paint that was used, and unless you act, you and your family may in fact be forced to just live in this unhealthy environment.
A high efficiency particle arresting (abbreviated as HEPA) air purifier that has a filter that specifically targets and removes these fumes can clear the air and make the air quality in your home healthy again. How does it do this? It is designed to run 24 hours a day to continuously removing these paint fumes from your air as soon as they off gas.
By opting for a HEPA air purifier you also get the added advantage of a cleaner that can remove other household particulates that may have resulted from new construction or a home makeover. This filter by definition is designed to remove normal household pollutants such as household dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pollen, pet dander, bacteria and viruses all as small as .3 microns.
The best of these air cleaners contain 4 filters built into one easy-to-change canister, each with a different purpose making it a powerful yet compact and very efficient solution to removing paint fumes from your air.