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    Intl: (713) 690- 2153
    Fax: (713) 690- 7872
    Sentry Air Systems, Inc.
    6999 West Little York, Ste. P1
    Houston, TX. 77040
    Located near Houston? Request a free on-site consultation.

    Hazards of Spray Paint Fumes

    Spray operations can present health hazards to workers involved in the spray application of many commonly used paints. The OSHA ventilation standard for general industry (29 CFR 1910.94 (c)(1)(i)) defines a "spray-finishing operation" as the "employment of methods wherein organic or inorganic materials are utilized in dispersed form for deposit on surfaces to be coated, treated, or cleaned." [3]

    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

    Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are organic chemical compounds whose composition makes it possible for them to evaporate under normal atmospheric conditions.

    Many professional-grade spray paints contain VOCs which include both human-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds.

    VOCs are emitted as gases and/or vapors from certain solids or liquids and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products including paints, lacquers and paint strippers. [1]

    Harmful VOCs are typically not acutely toxic, but instead have compounding long-term health effects. Researching their effects is difficult because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms are slow to develop. [5]

    Click here to see the EPA’s complete list of VOCs.

    Symptoms & Side Effects of Spray Paint Fumes

    Common VOCs found in most spray paints include Acetone, Xylene and Toluene. The chart below outlines exposure limits, symptoms and organs affected by these VOCs. [2]

    VOC

    Exposure Limits

    Symptoms

    Organs Affected

    Acetone

    NIOSH REL: TWA 250 ppm
    OSHA PEL: TWA 1000 ppm

    Irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; headache, dizziness, central nervous systems depression; dermatitis

    Eyes, skin, respiratory systems, central nervous system

    Xylene

    NIOSH REL: TWA 100 ppm
    OSHA PEL: TWA 100 ppm

    Irritation to the eyes, skin, nose and throat; dizziness, excitement, drowsiness, incoordination, staggering gait; corneal vacuolization; anorexia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain; dermatitis

    Eyes, skin, respiratory systems, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, blood, liver and kidneys

    Toluene

    NIOSH REL: TWA 100 ppm
    OSHA PEL: TWA 200 ppm

    Irritation to the eyes, nose; weakness, exhaustion, confusion, euphoria, dizziness, headache; dilated pupils, lacrimation; anxiety, muscle fatigue, insomnia; paresthesia; dermatitis; liver, kidney damage

    Eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system, liver, kidneys

    The degree to which a chemical exposure can affect health depends on:

    • How much of the chemical is present in the building / building air
    • How often a person comes into contact with the chemical
    • How harmful the chemical is to human health
    • How sensitive a person is to the chemical

    Common symptoms reported by occupants in the building environment include:

    • Itchy, watery, or burning eyes
    • Skin irritations or rashes
    • Nose and throat irritation
    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue

    While chemical concentrations are typically [recorded] at low levels, severe symptoms are possible under extreme [concentrations]. Severe symptoms include kidney and liver damage, and damage to the central nervous system. [4]

    OSHA Regulations

    OSHA defines a spraying area as “any area in which dangerous quantities of flammable vapors or mists, or combustible residues, dusts or deposits are present due to the operation of spraying processes.” 1910.107(a)(2) [8]

    In order to reduce exposure to these hazardous compounds, OSHA recommends that “all spraying areas [should] be provided with mechanical ventilation adequate to remove flammable vapors, mists, or powders to a safe location and to confine and control combustible residues so that life is not endangered. Mechanical ventilation shall be kept in operation at all times while spraying operations are being conducted and for a sufficient time thereafter to allow vapors from drying coated articles and drying finishing material residue to be exhausted.” 1910.107(d)(2) [8]

    An example of a proper ventilation system is a spray booth. OSHA defines a spray booth as
    “a power-ventilated structure provided to enclose or accommodate a spraying operation to confine and limit the escape of spray, vapor, and residue, and to safely conduct or direct them to an exhaust system.” 1910.107(a)(3) [8] 

    For light-use spray paint touch ups, a ductless spray hood is a comparable and oftentimes less expensive alternative to ducted exhaust units. Ductless spray hoods act as a respiratory safety engineering control for the extraction and purification of aerosol spray paint fumes and particulate. While OSHA does not have explicit regulations regarding the definition and standards of ductless ventilation systems, these units utilize a series of pre-filters and filters to adequately remove hazardous particulates before air is vented back into the room; removing the need to duct into an exhaust line.

    Reduce Spray Paint Fume Exposure

    The basic principles for controlling the occupational environment consist of substitution of less hazardous materials; isolation of the hazard; and the use of local and general exhaust ventilation to remove contaminants from the workroom. Experience has shown that occupational hazards can be controlled by the use of one or more of these principles. [6]

    Ventilation is one of the most important engineering controls available to the industrial hygienist for improving or maintaining the quality of the air in the occupational work environment. Broadly defined, ventilation is a method of controlling the environment with air flow. [7]

    When choosing a ventilation system, make sure to gather sufficient information about air volume and performance. Strong suction at the inlet of the booth is important as it will provide an effective source capture and containment of overspray particulates. This results in protecting the operator’s breathing zone as well as preventing unwanted spray particulate and odors from entering the general work area.

    Sentry Air Systems, Inc. provides this information as a customer service, but cannot be responsible for its accuracy or completeness. It is recommended that competent legal authorities as well as safety and hygiene professionals be consulted.


    SS-330-DSH
    30” Wide Ductless Spray Booth


    SS-340-DSH
    40” Wide Ductless Spray Booth


    SS-350-DSH
    50” Wide Ductless Spray Booth


    SS-360-DSH
    60” Wide Ductless Spray Booth

    REQUEST A QUOTE

     

    [1] "An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html

    [2] “NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards”. CDC. Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/

    [3] “Spray Operations”. OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/sprayoperations/

    [4] “Indoor Environmental Quality” CDC. Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/indoorenv/ChemicalsOdors.html#1

    [5] “Volatile Organic Compound”. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volatile_organic_compound

    [6] “Recommended Preventative and Control Measures to Reduce the Risk of Obstructive Lung Disease among Workers in the Microwave Popcorn Packaging Industry” OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/flavoringlung/preventativecontrolmeasures_regionvii.html

    [7] “Ventilation” OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ventilation/index.html

    [8] “Spray finishing using flammable and combustible materials”. OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9753

     

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