Except for the danger of falling off a ladder or scaffold, painting may not seem to pose much risk to the painter or other members of the family, but paint itself is a substance that can be hazardous to a person's health. Paint is a combination of chemicals and requires careful handling and proper precautions. Here are some tips to be aware of:
- Water-thinned or solvent-thinned, paint ingredients are poisonous and should be kept away from children and pets. Antidotes are listed on can labels.
- Work in well-ventilated areas at all times, even if you're using odorless paints. They still contain fumes that may be harmful if inhaled. Wear a paper painters' mask when painting indoors. Also wear one outdoors if you're using an airless sprayer. Do not sleep in a room until the odor has dissipated.
- Do not smoke while painting and, if possible, extinguish pilot lights on gas appliances. Shut off gas to the unit first.
- Toxic paint chemicals can be absorbed through the skin. Wash up as soon as possible.
- When painting overhead, wear goggles to keep paint out of your eyes. Chemical ingredients can cause burns to sensitive eye tissue.
- Never drink alcohol while you're painting. Combined with paint fumes it can be deadly.
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