If you’ve ever worked with spray paint, you know how hazardous it can be. The chemicals that come with it are not only hazardous to your health but can also pose a threat to your work environment.
These toxic fumes are caused by a series of substances often found in some common substances, which can come in either a liquid or solid form.
They’re called Volatile Organic Compouds (VOC’s), and they tend to evaporate under normal atmospheric conditions. These gaseous substances come as a byproduct of spray paint, and while they’re toxicity is low, they can lead to long-term health issues.
Here are some of the symptoms that can result from exposure to these types of chemicals:
- Itchy, watery, or burning eyes.
- Nose and throat irritation
Many of the symptoms tend to develop slowly, so they can be easily dismissed.
You want to avoid exposure to these chemicals as much as possible, as they could damage your health. So, it’s important to protect yourself while working with spray paint. You also have to avoid the risk of fire, as they are highly inflammable. So, it’s important to have a good sprinkler system in case something goes up in flames.
But if these chemicals are so dangerous, then how can I possibly use them safely?
Spray paint booths are designed to prevent exposure to these harmful chemicals, and they will have a sprinkler system to put out any fires. It will not only create an isolated environment in which to work, but the ventilation system will keep any toxic substances from building up inside. Still, you want to exercise caution while you’re inside a spray paint booth, because in spite of all the safeguards you can still put yourself at risk.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your booth complies with any government regulations. The OSHA and the EPA have some very specific standards about spray painting and spray paint booths. So, make sure you’re up to speed on any current standards, as that could save you from any penalties down the road.
Make sure the ventilation system is working properly. Change the air filters on a regular basis, and make sure you clean the booth periodically to prevent any buildup of dust, overspray, or residual chemicals.
Whenever you’re working, be mindful of the airflow, which will depend on the type of booth you’re operating. In fact, there are three main types of spray paint booths:
- Downdraft booth: The airflow in this booth moves downward in a vertical direction (from the ceiling to the floor).
- Crossflow booth: Unlike the downdraft booth, the airflow moves in a horizontal direction.
- Semi-downdraft booth: This is considered to be a cross between the previous two. The air moves in from the ceiling, and it is blown out through one of the side walls.
Downdraft booths are considered to be the industry standard. So, it will be the most efficient, but this is not always an option. In fact, a downdraft booth won’t work in every environment. If that’s the case, you want to find the most efficient solution for your work space.
If you’re using a crossflow or semi-downdraft booth, you always want to spray in the direction of the airflow, as that will keep any overspray or harmful chemicals away from you. But you still want to wear protective gear while you’re working in the booth, as that will keep you from getting exposed to anything that could be hazardous to your health.
While spray paint can have some harmful chemicals, you can still use these products safely if you follow the proper procedures. Having the right safeguards in place to prevent any accidental exposure will save you from experiencing health problems down the road. And keeping up-to-date on any government regulations will save you a lot of time and money that can be spent elsewhere.