Written by Webbert Friday, 17 April 2009 08:50
I'd spent a whole day on a fairly large production. I had thisbrilliant sensation of a burning throat, chest and stomach. I feltdizzy and sick. This is when I finally realized paint fumes were reallystarting to get to me.
Anyone who has ever done a piece shouldknow afterwards, the colour of your main fill-in, reappears when youblow your nose. If you're saying "yuk.. I don't look at my snot", - letme put it to you another way. Ever painted indoors? If you have, you'llknow what I mean by "spray mist". Spray cans let the paint out, andmost of that paint lands on your train, wall or whatever, but the gasdrifts on outwards.. until it settles. When you're painting, your lungstake in this mist, the inside of your lips and nose absorb it. (Everseen anyone sniff cocaine?) Paint-toxins can even be absorbed throughyour skin. (Read anything on aromatherapy baths etc.) Now with thisknowledge, think about the ground underneath your piece.. did it everhave a taint of your main colours? A cover of fine, sticky, dustypigment? Now think about that in your body... Now buy (or rack)yourself a mask, pronto.
A decentmask should cover your nose and mouth. It should have at least twofilters. The outside filter is called a "dust filter", and usuallyconsists of filt, or a paper based filter, in plastic casing. Theoutside filter stops you inhaling the dusty particles of paint mist.The inside filter is a "gas filter", and usually consists of acoal-based substance, in a metal casing. This is the filter that stopsthe gas/fumes - which you may not notice as easily as the "paint dust"- yet this is the most hazardous aspect of using aerosols.
Bothfilters should fit in, or screw into your mask. Masks themselves aregenerally made of latex, plastic or rubber, and should strap on tightlyenough to stop you inhaling any other way than through the filters.There is usually a simple valve on the mask itself - which allows youto exhale.
Filters will continuously "clean" air if they are leftin an open space. So when your mask is not in use, keep it in a cleanairtight container. (Your mothers tupperware will do ;-)
If youever smell or taste paint through the mask, it's time to changefilters. Generally - depending on how much you paint - changing once ayear is advisable.
There are other, cheaper forms of masks, butthese usually only stop dust/mist.. they're meant for sawdust.. nottoxic fumes... by all means they're better than nothing - but not goodenough.
Before and after you paint,make sure you eat and drink (preferably water). This should make yourbody less absorbent to the paint's toxins. Never clean your spray cantips by blowing through them, (this will invariably cover your lips inpaint), do it as it says on the can, hold upside down, and spray untilonly gas comes out.
In my case, I think I might of realized justin time. I'd never suffered from asthma before. Now, when I run tocatch a train or whatever, I'll quite often end up wheezing and puffingbadly.
The following extract is quoted from Upski's book "Bomb The Suburbs". If I haven't influenced you, hopefully this will: