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The Effect of Paint in Human Health

DIY home renovating, painting and decorating is all the rage nowadays with reality TV programs such as The Block and various others showing us all how fun it can be. Indeed, there is something special about having a painting project or other kind of project to work on at your home. But something we don’t think about too often is the health risks associated with these kind of activity, particularly in relation to the kinds of paint we use.


To understand the negative effect that paint can have on our health, we need to understand the component of traditional paints. What compromises many types of paint today is basically a mix of chemicals, some of which can cause health problems. VOC paints for instance have been linked to a plethora of health problems including headaches, irritated skin, eyes and airways, allergic and asthmatic reactions and generally put increased stress on vital organs such as heart. Water based paints are a much safer alternative, yet many VOC paints are still being sold on the market. So if you are doing your own paint work, definitely keep this in mind!

Lead is another chemical can be found in older painted surfaces, as it was used in many paints prior to 1970. This toxic chemical can cause harm in the body system for example neuro-logical, haematological, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and renal systems. According to a report of World Health Organisation, every year approximately 143 000 people die because of the toxic effect of lead. Lead can be a hazard for children if they can chew it from windows or doors and older homes should be inspected for this dangerous chemical.

It might be difficult for mass people to test the paint product to identify lead in it. However there are chemical test kits available. A cheap way of testing is using Portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry which can give you an accurate result if you’re doing a small job. Most of the time you should stick to the trusted brands and check the ingredients if you can.

We all need to be aware about the health risk of certain paints, especially if you’re doing the work yourself. Children are especially vulnerable so always go with water based products!

Obviously we encourage DIY painting work, but chances are it’s safer going with a professional. Finding a professional painter in Sydney cbd is not difficult. There are good quality painting and decorating companies available such as premier painting.



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