Art: Question about paint fumes?

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  1. #1
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    Question about paint fumes?

    So I oil paint in my bedroom and recently my wifes dad has complained that our kids will be mutants due to the lead, which I could understand if I were putting it into her cereal. But he is talking from the smell?? I mean, it seems common sense would put that theory to rest, assuming lead is a bit heavier then other air inhabitants and that it isn't floating around.

    Being open minding I scoured the internet and actually wasn't really able to find anything pin pointing oil paint smell with lead intake.

    Can anyone clear this up?

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    No, you are not breathing lead. You are breathing paint thinner fumes, which can hurt you in other ways. Make sure you get some good ventilation in there.

    After a day or so of drying, you’ll be smelling just the oil paints. As far as I know, that odor is mostly harmless. But again, if you are living in or sleeping in that space, make sure you open the window every day or so to flush it out. There’s no sense in pickling in avoidable fumes.

    If you ever sand your paints, that creates heavy metal dust. Do not do that in your living space, ever.

    I paint with latex gloves on to minimize skin contact with the heavy metals. One of my professors was convinced that the heavy metals can be absorbed through skin with the help of one of the thinners or oils involved. I haven’t heard that confirmed anywhere, but seeing as I’m a female who intends to get pregnant within a few years, I’m not taking any chances. It has the side benefit of helping to contain clothing-ruining smudges from leaping from one surface to the next, and reduces the clean-up time.

    You should do a search on oil paints. There’s lots of info around here.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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  4. #3
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    Are you actually using any paint and/or mediums with lead? I wouldn't in a house with small children unless your studio space is closed off and completly off limits to the kids; not because of any fume danger (there is none), but because little hands explore, get paint on them, and end up in little mouths.


    Tristan Elwell
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    I appreciate both of your responses.
    To preface I do not have any children, it was just hypothetical to future kids.

    Although I do use paints which contain leads (titanium white) and i think some of the Cadmium's have it in them. No mediums that have it.

    I am glad to hear my opinion confirmed, but I did stop today at albertsons to pick up a box of latex gloves since I do seem to get alot of paint on myself.

    Thanks for the help to this probably common question.

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    you're wrong, titanium white is based on titanium dioxide and was pretty much used as a replacement for flake white (lead white). cad colors don't have lead, they have cadmium. the problem is cad colors are very toxic and if you read the back, they could be cancer causing. SO STAY OUT OF CALIFORNIA!
    or, just wash your hands good after you paint and don't paint like a slob.

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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by inpho
    Although I do use paints which contain leads (titanium white) and i think some of the Cadmium's have it in them. No mediums that have it..
    AAAAARHHHHG!!!!
    This makes me so angry!
    For all practical purposes, there is NO LEAD in titanium white. Lead occurs as a natural trace contaminant in titanium ore, but in miniscule amounts (a few parts per million). However, California's labeling laws require warning for any detectable amount of hazardous material, regardless of any actual health hazard. A few years ago they decided to go after art materials manufacturers, and rather than fight a sloppily written and arbitrarily enforced law the big companies caved. So now we have totally unnecessary and uninformative labels slapped on paint, that only serve to worry and confuse people.


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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrr
    words..
    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell
    words..
    Oh great news then.
    Yea I was told a long time ago that Flake White has the lead, but jeesh right on
    the titanium tube there is this big warning about the lead in it so I thought I better just listen to it.

    Thanks for the clear up guys once again.

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  9. #8
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    FYI, the reason that lead is bad for you is that if it gets into your body, it migrates into your liver and stays there for the rest of your life, slowly accumulating and causing fun problems like dead liver or brain damage. Nice, huh? The problem has something to do with the size of the molecule, if I remember correctly. It’s in the class of elements called “heavy metals”, which are all generally bad for you in the same way, with some variance between molecules. That class also includes cadmium and cobalt. So handle those colors with the same care.

    Flake White has a particularly bad rep because traditionally it was used as a canvas ground – meaning it was painted over the whole canvas and then sanded flat. So, lots of lead dust resulted. The other heavy metal paints don’t have such a bad rep because they were never used like that.

    On the other hand, the same titanium contained in white paint is used in small amounts as the coloring in Cool Whip.

    At any rate, don’t suck on your brushes, keep a tidy studio, and have fun. ;-) Now that you know what you are working with, you are armed to use it with proper care. Go forth and make pretty pictures!

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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  10. #9
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    And if you live in California:

    The kinfolk said "Jed move away from there!"
    They said "California is the place to never be."
    So they loaded up the truck and they moved to somewhere free.

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by arttorney
    And if you live in California:

    The kinfolk said "Jed move away from there!"
    They said "California is the place to never be."
    So they loaded up the truck and they moved to somewhere free.

    Damn! My mouse just spontaneously clicks on things sometimes. It presumes that if I swoop across the page I must have intended to click on whatever link I crossed. Oh well, I can use this double post to apologize to the Massive Black crew who are apparently trapped in California. If you ever make it across the border, look me up. I have a kind of underground railroad set up.

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  12. #11
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    As long as you aren't taste-testing your paints before you use them, they pose no significant health risk.

    In my experience, the prospect of your used rags spontaneously combusting is a greater concern than any health hazards the solvents and paints pose.

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