The paint you use might have an undesirable effect on your health.  The paint you buy from your local retail store may contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are common chemical ingredients also found in caulks, adhesives, carpeting, and many other products.  In house paint, VOCs are released into the air during the drying process.  Exposure to VOCs from fresh paint can cause various negative health effects including dizziness, nausea, headaches, fatigue, and asthma.  Extended exposure to high levels of certain VOCs can cause liver or kidney damage.


Tips to minimize exposure to VOCs when painting:

  • Avoid using oil-based paint. Use water-based (latex) paint with no or low VOCs.
  • Keep windows and doors open when painting and remove yourself from the area until it has completely dried. Fans can help speed the drying process.
  • Keep pregnant women and young children away from freshly painted rooms for at least 2-3 days.


Healthy Painting Guidelines

Provide advance notice to apartment neighbors in adjacent units that painting is to begin. Try to schedule painting for dry periods in the fall or spring when windows are more easily left open for ventilation.  Keep windows wide-open, as weather permits, for about 2 to 3 days after painting to avoid unwanted exposure to paint vapors and to return to acceptable indoor air quality.

Use window-mounted box fans to exhaust vapor from the work area. Make sure they cannot fall out of the window.  If fans cannot be used, make sure that the rooms being painted have adequate cross-ventilation. Take frequent fresh air breaks while painting. Avoid freshly painted rooms for 2 to 3 days, whenever possible.

People’s susceptibility to paint chemicals varies widely.  Additionally, the types and amounts of chemical emitted from paint vary widely, especially between oil-based and latex paints. Therefore, residents, property managers, and painters are strongly urged to follow several simple steps to reduce possible adverse reactions.  These steps include reading the label to select products that do not emit harmful vapors and provide ventilation.  Always keep young children and individuals with breathing problems from freshly painted rooms.  Leave painted areas if you experience eye watering, headaches, dizziness, or breathing problems.


Safety Practices

Continue to provide fresh air after painting.  Part of the risk with indoor painting arises from the idea that dry paints are safe.  While some paints may have only a small quantity of volatile materials that evaporate quickly, other paints may have a significant amount of organic solvents or drying oils that take several days to go away.  Given this fact, a general “rule of thumb” for avoiding unwanted exposure to paint vapors and to return the air to acceptable quality, ventilation should be continued for 2 or 3 days.

Follow paint can directions for the safe cleaning of brushes and other equipment.  Latex paint usually cleans up with soap and water.  For Alkyd paints, you will need to purchase specific products as listed on the label.  Never use gasoline to clean paint brushes.  Gasoline is extremely flammable.  Read the label to find out if the paint cleaner is flammable.  All flammable products should be used away from ignition sources such as water heaters, furnaces, electric motors, fans, etc.


How Can I Get More Information?

Contact the National Lead Information Center’s Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or their website www.epa/ gov/lead, prior to painting homes or apartments that were built before 1978.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse; 1 (800) 438-4318 or on-line at

Contact us

In the case of a rental property, you must talk with your landlord before painting.  Ensure that you discuss the colors with him.  Productive painting offers professional power washing and residential, commercial, and industrial interior and exterior painting services to the communities of Wall, NJ and throughout Monmouth County, NJ.  Fully licensed and insured, Productive Painting Company is owner operated NJ LICENSE #13VH04439800.  Hours of operation Mon to Fri 8 AM to 5 PM and Saturday 8 AM to 1 PM.  Closed Sundays.

Productive Painting Call Now: (877) 298-9688