Everyone has painted something in their life whether it be activities at school or repainting that old guestroom. However, with any kind of paint comes with a few warnings.
Exposure to paint can cause a variety of short- and long-term health effects. Immediately, the paint can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system, and instigate vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, and headaches. Long-term effects can be asthma, cancer, brain damage, kidney or liver damage, and many different effects on the respiratory system.
On the bright side, most people won’t experience most of these when working with paint. The chances of these issues drop even more if you follow the instruction on the back of the paint can as you should with any product you use. As everyone always says, paint in a well-ventilated area. Don’t trap the fumes inside with you; paint outside or in an open garage, or at least open some windows and turn the fans on.
If you can, use water-based paint such as latex and acrylic paints. Oil-based ones contain mineral oil as the base which can irritate skin but can also be very damaging to the lungs is somehow swallowed. Solvent-based paints are capable of bothering the skin and is harmful if swallowed, but solvent-based paints are also the type that produce the most fumes. This isn’t much of a problem in a ventilated area though.
Dealing with paint exposure is easy. Wash it off skin with soap and water, not with paint remover, and flush any paint in the eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes. If someone manages to swallow the paint, give them some water and keep an eye on them. Take them to the hospital if they get sick, otherwise, the paint may be visibly passed later (have fun with that). If someone exposed to paint fumes is dizzy or light-headed, get them outside into the fresh air and call the Queensland Poisons Information Centre at 13 11 26.