Day 1: The painter in this pic is Janakiram. Him and his crew are painting our house. One day he brought this girl with him. I asked him whether she is his daughter. He said both his children are boys, and this girl is like his daughter. He said this girl is from the next door neighbor. The painter couple is so fond of her, she practically been living with them since she was 3 months old.
Day 2: Next day a young man showed up with lunch box. The painter introduced him to me saying that he is his son. I asked the youngster what is he doing. “B.A. 2nd year”. He said he will try for a job after completion, as he can’t afford to study more. I asked whether he is getting trained in computers, Janakiram replied saying he put him for typewriting first and then he put him for some computer course.
Day 3: I have been sick for almost a day. My suspicion is that this is due to the really strong odor from the paint. I asked the painter whether the paints gotten any safer through his 20 yr experience. His answer is a negative. The only positive sign is that they don’t need to manually mix the paints now-a-days, but it is done by the paint mixtures at the shop. He said everyone knows the paints are dangerous of humans, but concerned officials take money under the table, and give our permission.
I asked Janakiram if he knows painters falling sick due to side effects from paint. “Many” was the answer. He said one senior painter recently dead with cancer like symptoms. He also said the painter smoked and drank, so he wasn’t sure what caused the death. Then he said almost everyone drinks for any/no reason. Luckily he didn’t get used to such habits “My wife would throw me out of I drink”. I guess that is a good excuse not to drink. He said he doesn’t think he can continue painting for 10 more years.
Here are the health effects of paints (symptomfind.com)..
There is a variety of both short-term and long-term negative health effects associated with VOCs in paint fumes. The severity of the health effect depends on several different factors, including both the length of time and the level of exposure. Some examples of short-term, temporary side effects include:
Some of the conditions above can become chronic in individuals who are consistently exposed to VOCs in paint fumes either in the home or at work on a daily basis. Long-term health effects of VOCs can include:
Here is what you can do to reduce the risk (by Kristie Leong M.D. Yahoo! Contributor Network)
Reduce paint fume effects: Increase ventilation
Having a moving source of air will not only allow the paint to dry more quickly, it can also help to dissipate the paint fumes more quickly. Open as many windows as you can and consider adding rotating fans to the rooms you’ve painted. This will help to clear VOC’s from your living area.
Reduce paint fume effects: Avoid painting your home when you’re pregnant
Certain solvents found in paint are suspected of increasing the risk of miscarriage, particularly glycol ether. If you must be in a freshly painted area during pregnancy, be sure to wear a face mask and gloves when in the freshly painted room and keep the room well ventilated. Don’t do the painting yourself as this will provide too much direct exposure.
Reduce paint fume effects: Use safer paints
One option to reduce paint fume effects is to use a low VOC or VOC- free paint. Although these alternative paints may cost more, the additional investment may be worth it in terms of your health. There are also a variety of natural paints on the market that are free of synthetic chemicals. An internet search will reveal sources for these.
By choosing a safer paint and practicing appropriate precautions, you can reduce the potential side effects of paint fumes and reduce the risk to you and your family.