The arrival of a new baby or children growing out of their once loved bright pink walls often prompts families to get out their paint brushes and give walls, ceilings and skirting boards a fresh lick of paint. There is no doubt that fresh paint makes your home look more attractive, protects your walls against wear and tear and protects from the effects of on the go children. If you have ever painted, you will know that the fumes from paint can be rather potent and even cause us adults to become dizzy headed. Some ingredients included in paint products can be harmful to humans and the environment and it doesn’t take too much of and imagination to be able to imagine the effects that some paint products will have on young children and pets.
The New Zealand Asthma and Respiratory Foundation reports that around 1 in 9 adults have asthma and paint fumes are a known trigger for it. One Swedish study found that the risk of developing asthma in pre-school aged children increased with exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds. When painting indoors it is important to minimise paint fumes and dissipate any paint fumes quickly.
Choose Low VOC Paints
To protect the health of your little ones, pets and the environment, where possible try and select product suppliers that use endorsed environmental management systems and who are making an effort to reduce health and environmental impacts of their products. Look for products that are environmentally endorsed and include information of toxicity, emissions and air quality. The Environmental Choice New Zealand website lists a range of environmentally friendly products available in New Zealand.
Resene’s mainstream paints are generally low fume, however they have developed some extra low odour products. With over 160 low fume products, a couple of note are Resene Zylone Sheen, Resene Ceiling Paint and VOC free Resene Zylone Sheen. These paints are sure to help your family breathe easier. The lack of solvent fumes means they are more pleasant to use and your newly painted areas are put back in use quickly.
Dulux also have a range of paints that have moved away from solvent-based products and is now using water-based paints. By using water-based paints, there is less solvent evaporated into the air as water-based paints emit mainly harmless water vapour.
When it is time to paint:
- Make sure your walls are mould free BEFORE painting, don’t just paint over the mould as it is likely that the mould will just rear its ugly head through the paint and cause your new paint to peel off.
- If you can send your children to the grandparents for the day while you paint, do it! Children are naturally inquisitive and are often keen to get their sticky fingers into paint and “help” you out.
- If children are around, beware of equipment such as ladders as these can pose as a hazard.
- Animals don’t understand the concept of wet paint – so it’s best to give them a day outside while the paint is drying, the last thing you want it paw printed carpet!
- Even if the best thing you can get hold of is a small fan, use it. Even a small amount of circulation will help you to ventilate the area you are working in.
When the job is done:
- Store your preparation products, paints and harsh cleaning products securely and out of reach of children. Don’t forget, climbing is in a child’s repertoire early on.