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paint fumes, when can i decorate?

(6 Posts)
silverfishlondon Wed 10-Dec-14 01:01:19

35 weeks pregnant. I want to put a fresh lick of paint on the walls in soon to be nursery. Also a little gloss on the skirting. Baby won't be sleeping in this room for months. Windows can be left open all the time. Ok you think? I understand modern paints are pretty safe.

More of a problem is the bathroom we have just had all refitted but no paint yet as husband going to do it.. sometime. It will need several layers and gloss skirting so likely to smell of paint for a while, however much we ventilate. Do it asap before baby arrives ok? Should I more careful of paint fumes risks? We left this a bit late in the day and there's lots of work up do!

Findingthisdifficult1234 Wed 10-Dec-14 07:41:16

I'd check with the midwife? I don't your meant to be painting whilst pregnant, though I know lots f women do...
Could wear a mask and open all windows whilst doing it.
I'm sure the paint smell would've nearly gone by the time baby arrives surely?

tomanyanimals Wed 10-Dec-14 10:44:00

I struggled with the smell as I found it so strong the next few days after painting but whilst painting was fine so would take that into consideration I didn't do the gloss as there was a lot of warnings on the tin about needing to be in breathable air etc but the paint I got was breathe easy I think?

AdamLambsbreath Wed 10-Dec-14 13:12:50

Trying using a water-based, low-VOC (Volatile Organic something-or-other: the bad stuff in paint, anyway) woodwork paint. Crown do a range called 'Breatheasy', and there are loads of other ranges like this from other brands.

Most wall and ceiling emulsions should be low-VOC, and personally I wouldn't worry about using them. You can get 'Breatheasy' and eco versions of these as well.

It always say on the paint tins what the VOC content is (usually 'low', 'medium' or 'high'): I happily use low-VOC paint but for medium will always open all windows for plenty of ventilation. I find that the low-VOC stuff and Breatheasy emulsion hardly smells at all after 24 hours or so.

If your skirtings are already glossed and you just want to touch them up, you might have to use a high-VOC gloss paint. I don't know how well a water-based paint would adhere over an oil-based one.

I wouldn't use any really strong fumey paint myself, and if DH did a room in it I'd leave it a week or so before putting it into use. But I am very cautious.

I'm 17 weeks pregnant and in the middle of a house renovation, so well up on this stuff wink

silverfishlondon Wed 10-Dec-14 14:25:01

Thanks all! My paints got some claim about VOCS on it, so with using that, reducing time in room and ventilating should be ok.. may be more cautious about gloss tho.
Any risk of chemicals related to birth defects would be more relevent while baby's forming in the early stages of pregnancy. Mostly I don't want the smell to be lingering with a newborn in the house, so will do it asap and limit baby's time in those rooms if in any doubt

stubbornstains Thu 11-Dec-14 09:45:07

Get a decent mask- one that works for fumes. Most damage from paint exposure is cumulative, so I reckon you should be fine with a little bit of normal domestic decorating anyway, but wearing a mask will reassure you.

I tried to do as much research on this as I could, as I use really hardcore paints all the time for my job; it seems that there are only several specific solvents that are proven to cause foetal harm, and they're not commonly found in household paint. Interestingly, one of the most toxic paint ingredients is called- I think- glycol esters (?) and is actually found in water based paint (ie emulsion)! But having said that, it was found to reduce sperm count in male painters and decorators, who were using it all day every day, for years.....

If anybody else has dug up any solid info about which paint ingredients cause harm, and how to avoid it, I would be very interested!

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