IAQ Concerns: Painting Indoors

IAQ Concerns: Painting Indoors

Painting interior walls and surfaces can give your home an instant makeover while subtly enhancing your mood. Unfortunately, these therapeutic and transformative effects come at the expense of indoor air quality (IAQ). Read on to find out the IAQ concerns of interior painting and what you should do to mitigate them.

Airborne Chemicals

Interior wall paints contain volatile organic compounds, which can present toxic exposure concerns. Soon after painting, VOCs reach unpleasantly high levels. In fact, their indoor levels can be as much as 1,000 times more than outdoor levels as new paint dries.

A freshly painted room continues to slowly off-gas these ozone-producing gases long after application, and the paint has fully dried. Paint usually releases only about 50 percent of the VOCs it contains in the first year of its application.

Health Effects

Chemical emissions from paint are linked to a variety of short-term and long-term health woes. The symptoms you may experience immediately after exposure to them include:

  • Irritation of the eye and throat
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Lung irritation

Long-term exposure to paint vapors can cause cancer and damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.

Safe Painting Guidelines

The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice painting your home due to indoor air quality concerns. Be sure to follow the tips below:

  • Schedule painting for spring or fall when you can leave windows open easily to increase ventilation.
  • Only use low VOC emitting paints that have been certified by third parties.
  • Whenever the weather permits, leave the windows open for up to three days after application of the paint to revert to acceptable IAQ.
  • Run window-mounted exhaust fans in the work area to remove paint vapors.
  • Avoid the freshly painted rooms for about three days.

Following the tips for healthy painting will minimize IAQ concerns, but it doesn’t end there. When choosing products for other home improvement projects, ensure you also go for low-emitting products. If you have any questions about indoor air quality, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors. We help homeowners in Monmouth County and the surrounding areas breathe easier indoors.

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