Paint warning: Exposure to oil-based products could cause kidney, liver and blood problems


Painting is a fun and relaxing hobby many have undertaken particularly during lockdown. Unfortunately, they often have to worry about whether the materials they are using are safe as oil-based paint has been found to cause a number of health problems.

Oil-based paints do contain high levels of volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

These chemical compounds do evaporate as the paint dries, but they can cause some uncomfortable symptoms during the process of painting.

Symptoms of exposure to VOCs can include headache, dizziness or light-headedness, nausea, and difficulty breathing.

Oil-based paint contains organic solvents that can be irritating to eyes and skin and can cause cracking of skin, warns the Cleveland Clinic.

The health site adds: “Inhaling paint fumes can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.

“Most of these symptoms go away once you go out into fresh air.

“However, frequent exposure to these chemicals in the presence of poor air circulation can cause kidney, liver and blood problems.”

To reduce risk when painting, keep windows and doors fully open.

  • Place a box fan in a window to direct air and fumes outdoors.
  • Keep the fan on while painting and for 48 hours thereafter.
  • Keep small children away from the room being painted and away from open paint cans.


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