Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ten (10) Points of Caution When Using Paints

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Paints are everywhere. In the US alone, between 3 to 4 million gallons of paint are used everyday. Paint is part of modern life. If there is one more thing that we can't avoid in life, it is paint. And its allies: resin, ink, pigments, dyes, and the like.

For many years I have been associated with paints - at my small framing shop, with my hobby of painting, and in conducting art workshops. 

Knowing the dangers of paints,
I have listed down ten ways by which we can reduce its effects on our health and to the environment, and enjoy the many functions and marvelous beauty paints bring into our lives.



Art workshop for children must be closely supervised even when using 
"non-toxic" paints. Water-based paints are safer than oil-based paints. 



1. Paint outdoor. Paint fumes are harmful. Don't work in air conditioned room. Be sure the place is well-ventilated.

2. You may be taking in paint into your body inadvertently. Don't inhale paint directly. Odorless paint is simply masked paint; it is even more dangerous because you can't detect its toxic fumes.

3. Wash hands thoroughly with soap after painting. Don't eat when painting. Paint may be inhaled through smoking. Use mask if possible, specially for oil and lacquer paints.

4. Don't occupy a newly painted room. Place pieces of charcoal at the corners of the room to adsorb the gaseous substance and odor. This takes a week or two. Natural vinegar in a bowl will help eliminate fumes and paint odor.

5. Close supervision is needed when teaching young children to paint - any paint for that matter, including pastel and crayon. Remember there is no absolutely safe paint.

6. All paints contain varying amounts of lead, including the gold linings of china. That is why you have to discard plates and cups which have fading gold linings. A case of a sickly boy was traced to this cause - slow lead poisoning, which is similar to the syndrome that affected the Romans who were using lead coated vessels and cups . There is no substitute to lead (Pb) as paint adhesive, not only to extend the life of the paint and ink but also to enhance its colors.

7. Exchanging and sharing paints with friends and in the neighborhood will reduce need of more paint. This project will solve excess paints that would otherwise go to waste. It is not good to store paints for obvious reasons.

8. Keep paints away from children. Parental guidance is needed to guide them and correct wrong impressions on certain TV shows and childrens' parties where paint is liberally used.

9. Don't use newspaper as back padding when your child gets wet from rain or perspiration. Lead used in the ink can be absorbed by the body. Use towelette or handkerchief instead. Better still, change clothes with a dry one immediately.
Lead from newsprint may contaminate food and can be ingested by pets.

10. Old paint must be scraped off to get rid of its dust before applying new paint. Lead in paint dust if inhaled is bad to health. Check your bedroom, your living and dining areas regularly.


Let's enjoy the many functions and marvelous beauty paints bring into our lives. But let's exercise precaution in using them

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