Are Paint Fumes Harmful and for how long?

man painting a wall and preparing paint

All paints have an odor while they cure and some take longer to cure than others. Some people are more sensitive to paint fumes and outgassing while paint dries.

In California, most paints have a lower VOC (by law), than the rest of the country.

Paint fumes and odor can be harmful to certain people, like expectant mothers, children and babies, elderly, pets and those who have lung and medical problems.

Generally, latex paints have less VOC than oil based paints. However, latex paints take longer to cure than oil based paints.

For specific information on your job, ask your painting contractor how long paint fumes may be harmful.

In general, it is best to wait up to 3 days before using the painted room. By this time, the paints are dry and the odor has subsided. You will know it is safe when the odor is not as strong as it was when you applied the paint.

woman covering her nose and a painting couple

What causes paint fumes?

Paints are mixed with chemical additives called VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds.

These chemicals help keep paint in its liquid state. Once paint is applied and begins to dry, the gases and odors evaporate and away after a few days. See paint can instructions, or ask your contractor for the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for that product.

Can paint fumes be harmful?

Like many industrial products, paint fumes and odor can be harmful. Which is why you need to use the proper safety masks or respirators when you apply, to minimize your exposure during your project.

Some people may experience short term effects from exposure to paint fumes.

Such as: Dizziness, Headache, Watery eyes, Lightheadedness and Irritation to the nose or throat.

It is advisable for anyone to avoid paint fumes, especially if you are older, have a compromised immune system, are pregnant, have kids, pets, or any other health condition which can be affected by paint odors or fumes.

Safety tips when working around paint fumes.

Take safety precautions. Expose yourself as little as possible to painted areas and avoid breathing the fumes.

Paint fumes will take a few days before the strong smell goes away.

Here are a few ways to help them go away faster.

  1. Keep painted areas well ventilated.
    Open windows and doors and use fans to circulate more air and help dry faster.
  2. Use only indoor paints.
    Indoor paints contain less VOCs because they developed for interior residential painting. They dry faster, so the fumes and odor clear faster.
  3. Read the label carefully.
    Pay attention to the warning and instructions on the label. Most of them include tips and protective measures when using the product.
  4. Wear a mask or respirator while painting.
    These will prevent you from inhaling strong paint fumes. Take frequent fresh air breaks. This can help clear your lungs and do away with of fresh paint fumes.
  5. Cover leftover paints.
    Put the lid back on the paint cans after using. Keep paint in a child safe place.

If you are worried about exposing yourself to paint fumes and odor, you can leave the job to El Gato. They can coach you on how often you should paint your house interior.

El Gato Painting has the knowledge, track record and reputation to do your project right. The first time.

Topics we will discuss with you before you hire us.

  1. We’ll furnish you our complete list of satisfied customers.
  2. Verify we are licensed and insured.
  3. Agree with you in writing on price and responsibilities.
  4. Be sure you get our best warranty for the work.
  5. Make sure we use high-quality materials and paints.
  6. We’ll carefully go over our 21 steps of preparation and application.
  7. Welcome your questions and concerns.
  8. Look forward to your final inspection of our crew’s excellent work.

Please visit our Certification pages:
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for our long list of 5 Star Ratings.
El Gato Painting Services From our website here
Reviews for the company Customer testimonials from our website here

This will give you the peace of mind that you have hired trustworthy and reliable professionals.

Contact El Gato Painting Services today and get a free quotation!

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