Our lives are enriched by painters who can capture moments in time on canvas. What is not so beautiful is the smell of the paints, acrylics, solvents such as turpentine, and other powerful chemicals that are often a part of the creative process in a paint studio.
Many of the materials used in a fine art studio contain volatile organic chemicals that can cause acute side effects such as headache, nausea, and light headedness. And prolonged exposure to these airborne chemicals has been shown to cause more serious and sometimes irreversible health problems. Here are 4 ways to lessen the fumes and protect yourself from the fumes in your paint studio.
1. Proper ventilation is important to let the fumes leave the room. A fan that exhausts to the outside is important. It can be as simple as placing a box fan in the window and allowing it to blow out, pulling air from inside your studio to outdoor. The direction of the air flow is important, otherwise turning the fan inward only blows the chemicals around rather than getting them out.
2. When you have to use solvents, particularly to clean brushes and other equipment, do it outside if possible. This will eliminate the fumes from your indoor air. Be sure to properly dispose of solvents so they don't leach into the water and soil, and store any unused portions with the lids on tight to prevent off gassing from occurring while they are just sitting on the shelf. If possible store them away from where you work.
3. There are so many green products on the market now. Talk to your suppliers about using products that contain less, or even no volatile organic chemicals. These are not only less threatening to your health, but are easier on the environment as well.
4. Use a high efficiency particle arresting (or HEPA) air purifier that can remove fine particulates from the air. If it also has an inner filter that can remove airborne chemicals your air cleaner will be able to eliminate all the airborne pollutants that, left in the air, will cause you problems. Allowing this purifier to clean your air 24 hours a day every day will insure that your air quality is always as clean and healthy as it can be.