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How to Reduce Fumes From Oil-Based Paints

Kimberly Johnson

The fumes that are emitted from oil-based paints are strong, as anyone who has ever painted a room or house can attest. While most people find the paint smell annoying, these fumes can have harmful side effects. Not only can they cause breathing problems, they can also cause eye irritation and dizziness.

Oil-based paint produces harmful fumes.

According to the Environmental Protection Division, prolonged exposure to paint fumes can lead to kidney or liver damage and other severe health problems.

  1. Choose an oil-based paint that is labeled "low VOC." This means that the paint contains lower levels of volatile organic compounds than traditional oil-based paint. Low VOC paints still have a slight odor, but the harmful fumes are greatly reduced.

  2. Open all doors and windows to the location that contains the oil-based paint. Because of the need for this proper ventilation, it's a good idea to plan painting jobs for mild weather.

  3. Turn off the central heating and air system if the air return is located in the room you are painting. If the air return is in another room, you can leave the system running if desired.

  4. Plug in square box fans and position them near all doors and windows of the room or location being painted. The fans should point towards the window so that they blow the interior air out of the room. The fans should be turned on as soon as painting begins and remain on until three days after painting is complete.