Understanding VOCs in paint and coating materials for a safe and healthy renovation project
Most paint and coating materials off-gas VOCs. Although they may still emit an odor and VOCs, high-quality, low- or no-VOC paint and coating products are available and are a better choice when protecting the quality of the air in indoor environments.
Water-based acrylic latex paints are generally lower in VOCs than other options, are safe to handle, and can be cleaned up with water, reducing the health risks to workers and minimizing hazardous waste.
Review the SDS to confirm that the products contain no lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium or cadmium. Industrial and commercial paints may still contain these components.
Other building materials should be isolated and protected from the off- gassing so as not to absorb the VOCs and emit them back into the air after renovations.
Properly ventilate the area or use negative air machines exhausted to the outdoors during renovations and for a minimum of 72 hours after renovations are completed to minimize any off-gassing or VOCs that may be released in the air.
When sanding building components or painted areas, a respirator should be worn by all workers in the work area.
Work areas and areas adjacent to the work areas should be unoccupied during the application of paint and other coatings. When feasible, consider applying coatings to building components off-site prior to installation.
Prior to application of paints and coatings on-site, cover all surrounding surfaces with poly sheeting to minimize damage and absorption of off- gases.
Follow manufacturers’ recommendations and instruction for application, cleanup, storage, and disposal.
Keep paint and coating containers covered as much as possible to minimize the amount of off-gassing.
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