Valor Home Services

Healthy Indoor Painting

As long as you’re going to be cooped up indoors for the Glen Carbon, O’Fallon and surrounding area winter, you’ll want to know everything that could affect your family’s health.

How about interior paint? Is your home one of the older homes in the area? Do you know what paint was used several layers down on your bedroom walls? On the ceiling? In the kids’ rooms?

Paint safety is something professionals have been consulting homeowners on a lot the last two decades. Why? Because vapors from certain kinds of paint can turn into dangerous compounds that cause long-term risk.

What are the biggest health concerns with interior paint?

•Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Petroleum-based products, including oil-based paints, naturally produce vapors that are harmful when breathed in. Symptoms include headaches and dizziness, eye irritation, and fatigue. Long-term exposure—especially during winter months when we’re inside all the time—can lead to serious damage to the nervous system, liver and kidneys.


Naturally, paint products will need additives to preserve or to help keep mildew and bacteria off your walls and ceilings. These additives, however, can be harmful, especially to those with existing respiratory problems. Low-toxic paint options exist for this reason.

•Crystalline silica

Crystalline silica is a normal component of latex paints. When inhaled, it leads to silicosis, a lung disease. A respirator must be worn to protect from silica dust when this paint is applied.

•Mercury and lead

Mercury used to be added to paint up until the 1990s as a way to combat mildew, as was lead until the late 1970s. Today, it’s no longer allowed in paint. Even though you won’t find this ingredient in new colors at the store, though, bear in mind that layers of old paint on your walls or ceiling could contain mercury, lead, or other heavy metals.

These are real health concerns, but they can all be avoided. It’s important to stay educated or seek those who can advise you when you do have concerns.

For each of these paint-related hazards, there are measures you (or your professional Belleville-area painter) can take BEFORE, DURING and AFTER an interior paint project to keep your family comfortable and safe.

Give us at Valor a call today to learn more, or wait until next week’s blog when we talk about the specific precautions you can take.