Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement Products such as paints, varnishes, waxes, stains, adhesives, glues found in workshops, basements, garages and storage sheds.
Many projects around the home involve painting, staining, sealing and glueing. The products that perform these tasks all need to dry and harden (“cure”). As they do, they release vapors into the air. These vapors can sometimes be irritating especially if the product uses petroleum-based solvents for curing. Such solvents can also cause headache and drowsiness. Some studies suggest that prolonged exposure to these vapors may cause nerve damage or affect brain development during pregnancy. Some crack filling products and glues contain acrylates and isocyanates which are also very irritating and damaging to tissues. Cleanup from painting may involve the use of mineral spirits or turpentine which are also solvents that can induce headache and breathing difficulties. Paint stripping using harsh chemicals (e.g.,methylene chloride, n-methylpyrollidone (NMP)) is a potential hazard as these are toxic and carcinogenic solvents. Keep these products away from children and keep children out of area until the product is fully cured.
Note: Oil-based paints, petroleum-based products and products intended for outdoor use tend to have a higher content of potentially harmful vapors.
Chemical(s) of Concern: toluene, xylene, propellants, naptha, volatile organic compounds, turpentine, methylene chloride, isocyanates, methylene chloride, NMP.
Alternatives: Use water-based paint. Look for low emitting or low VOC products; use mechanical rather than chemical stripping; use sealants and crack-fillers that do not contain isocyanates.
Read and follow the warning labels describing the need for adequate ventilation and wearing of protective gloves. Unused portions should be stored in an outdoor shed rather than a basement. Never use a product intended for outdoor use indoors. Do these projects when the house can quickly air out; work in a garage or shed workshop if available.