UHat Are the Special I
Apartment Dwellers?
i far
Vapors from paints are a special issue in
apartment buildings because the vapor moves as
"shared air" between units. Painters should be
aware that harmful gases can move through com-
mon walls through gaps around pipes and electri-
cal outlets. Apartment managers should consider
giving advance notice to neighbors that a unit is to
be painted. They should consider inspecting
painted units to ensure that ventilation is main-
tained during painting and, as a rule of thumb, for
at least 2 to 3 days afterwards, and they should
consider loaning box fans to residents who are
painting their apartments.

Problems may be  reduced if all apartments being
painted, as well as neighboring apartments, are
vented to the outdoors with box fans.
thy Painting Guideli
                          Try to schedule painting for dry periods in the fall
                       or spring, when windows are more easily left open for

                       J Keep windows wide-open, as
                       weather permits, for about 2 to 3
                       days after painting to avoid
                       unwanted exposure to paint vapors
                       (and to return to acceptable indoor
                       air quality).

                       y  Use window-mounted box fans
                       to exhaust vapors from the work
                       area. Make sure they cannot fall out of the window. If
                       fans cannot be used, make sure that rooms being
                       painted have adequate cross-ventilation.

                       J Provide advance notice to neighbors in adjacent
                       units that painting is to begin.

                       y  Take frequent fresh air breaks while painting. Avoid
                       freshly painted rooms for 2 to 3 days, whenever pos-
                       sible. Keep young children and individuals with breath-
                       ing problems from freshly painted rooms. Leave
                       painted areas if you experience eye watering,
                       headaches, dizziness, or breathing problems.
United States       Office of Pollution    EPA 744-F-00-011
Environmental      Prevention and     May 2000
Protection Agency   Toxics (7406)
                        HouvCanl GetMcrelrtforrraticn?

                       y  Contact the National Lead Information Center's
                       Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or thier website www.epa/
                       gov/lead, prior to painting homes or apartments that
                       were built before 1978.

                       y  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
                       Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse;
                       1 (800) 438-4318 or on-line at

                       V  U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
                       Washington, D.C. 20207
                       English/Spanish: 1 (800) 638-2772
                       Hearing/speech impaired: 1 (800)638-8270

                       y  Consumers can get recall and other safety informa-
                       tion on-line at www.cpsc.gov or report product hazards
                       to info@cpsc.gov.
                                                                                       Ifcfllftlll'l *
                                                                                       hr.ni-i I-,--.]
                                                                                                                         A SAFETY GUIDE FOR

       People's susceptibility to paint chemicals
       varies widely. Additionally, the types and
       amounts of chemical emitted from paint vary
widely, especially between oil-based and latex
paints. Therefore, residents, property managers,
and painters are strongly urged to follow several
simple steps to reduce possible adverse reactions.
These steps include reading the label to select
products that do not emit harmful vapors, and pro-
viding ventilation. Usually it is necessary to keep
windows wide-open and to use exhaust fans.  Fans
should be used while painting, and, for some
paints, for 2 to 3 days afterwards. These simple
steps can help reduce potential problems for resi-
dents, neighbors and painters.

 VU-iat Are the Health Concerns?

Most paints  contain chemicals that evaporate in
the air. The ability of these chemicals to cause
health effects varies greatly. As with any chemical,
the likelihood of a reaction and the extent and type
of health effect will depend on many factors.
These factors include the amount of chemical in
the indoor air, the length of time a person is
exposed to the chemical, and a person's age, pre-
existing medical conditions, and individual suscep-
tibility. Eye and throat or lung irritation,
headaches, dizziness, and vision problems are
among the immediate symptoms that some people
have experienced soon after exposure to some
chemicals. In professional painters who are
exposed to high levels of paint vapors for long
periods of time, some chemicals in paints have
damaged the nervous system, liver and kidneys.
Some chemicals cause cancer or reproductive and
developmental effects in laboratory animals.
Because of these concerns, susceptible people,
such as young children and individuals with
breathing problems, should avoid paint vapors. To
avoid any health risks for themselves and their
unborn babies, pregnant women should avoid
undertaking painting projects and should limit
their time in freshly painted rooms, especially
when oil-based paints are being used.
  HouvDol Select Pant?

First, make sure you select paints that are for indoor use.
Do not use exterior paints indoors. There are two cate-
gories of interior paints, water-based and oil-based.
Water-based paints are referred to as "latex" paints. The
oil-based paints are referred to as "alkyd" paints. In gen-
eral, water-based paints will emit fewer chemicals and
lower levels of chemical vapors. Short-term exposure to
solvents from alkyd paints can be significantly higher
than from latex paints. When selecting paint or contract-
ing for painting services, read the label for information
about the potential health effects of the paints or ask the
contractor or paint supplier.

  Are There Spedfi eSafety

Paints contain different chemicals and the potential haz-
ards are different for various products. Each product has
specific safety precautions given on the label. However,
there are some basic safety steps to keep in mind when
using any paint.

Always read and follow all the instructions and
safety precautions on the label. Do not assume
you already know how to use the product. The hazards
may be different from one product to another. Some
ingredients in individual products may also change over
time. The label
tells you what
actions you should
take to reduce
hazards and the
first aid measures
to use if there is a

There must be
plenty of fresh
air where you
paint. Open all
doors and
windows to the
outside (not to hallways). Curtains and blinds should be
pushed back so that there is nothing blocking the airflow,
to ensure cross-ventilation. Place a box fan securely in
the window blowing out to ensure air movement. Do
not point the fan directly at someone else's space.
Secure the fan within the window frame so that it can-
not fall out of the window or be tipped over by chil-
dren If it rains or snows, turn the fan off and remove it
from the window to avoid an electrical shock hazard.
An air conditioning unit should not be substituted for
the use of a fan. In addition, bathroom/kitchen exhaust
fans do not always vent out-of-doors and should not be
relied upon to increase ventilation.

Continue to provide fresh air after painting.
Part of the risk with indoor painting arises from the
idea that dry paints are safe. While some paints may
have only a small quantity of volatile materials that
evaporate quickly, other paints may  have a significant
amount of organic solvents or drying oils that take sev-
eral days to  go away. Given this fact, a general "rule
of thumb" for avoiding unwanted exposure to paint
vapors (and to return the air to acceptable quality),
ventilation  should be continued for 2 or 3 days.

Follow paint can directions for the safe
cleaning of brushes and other equipment.
Latex paint usually cleans up with soap and water.  For
alkyd paints, you will need to purchase specific prod-
ucts as listed on the label. Never use gasoline to
clean paint brushes. Gasoline is extremely flamma-
ble. Read the label to find out if the paint cleaner is
flammable. All flammable products should be used
away from  ignition sources such as water heaters, fur-
naces, electric motors, fans, etc.

Buy only what you need, and store or throw
away the unused amount. Since paints are used
only occasionally, buy only as much as you will use
right away.  If you have leftover paint, be sure to close
the container tightly. Vapors can leak from improperly
sealed containers. Follow the directions on the can on
how to dispose of the product. Latex paint and its con-
tainers can  often be thrown out with regular household
trash, hi some communities, there are  special recycling
programs for paints. To find out about these, you
should contact your local government.