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02 June 2012

When paint fumes are a knockout

Exposure to paint fumes should always be avoided, because they’re often toxic and associated with a wide variety of negative health effects.

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Exposure to paint fumes should always be avoided, because they’re often toxic and associated with a wide variety of negative health effects – though these vary considerably depending on the type of paint and the exposure level.

If you've just painted your house, spend as little time in the painted area as possible (walking out every five minutes helps!), and get as much ventilation going inside as possible. Fans help to pull in fresh air, and dry the paint. And if you've painted with enamel paint, it might be a good idea to move out of the house for five or six days.

If you experience symptoms of toxic exposure (headaches and nausea are among the common symptoms of inhalation of toxic fumes), consult your doctor and describe your symptoms and the circumstances. If you smoke, it’ll make the symptoms worse, so now would be a good time to cut back.

- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, May 2012

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