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Pregnancy | Your Wellbeing

Is it safe to paint or be around paint fumes during pregnancy?

Painting during pregnancy is not recommended, because the exact effects of the paint fumes are not yet well-understood.

Latex or acrylic paints aren’t made using solvents, and for this reason, they are generally considered safe if the area is ventilated thoroughly. Oil-based paints, on the other hand, contain harsh solvents and require chemicals for clean-up. They are not recommended for use by women who are expecting.

Latex (or acrylic) paint

This is the most common type of paint. It doesn’t contain solvents, can be cleaned up with soap and water, and is generally considered safe to use and be around while you’re pregnant as long as the area is well ventilated.

Oil-based paint

Oil-based paint contains solvents and requires turpentine or mineral spirits for clean-up. Some studies over the years have shown that exposure to solvents may increase the risk of having a miscarriage so using oil-based paint or being around the fumes during pregnancy is generally not recommended.

Lead paint

Lead based paint was commonly used prior to the 1970’s. Pregnant women should avoid removing old paint because of the risk of lead exposure. Exposure to lead paint increases the likelihood of lead poisoning and mental retardation. Scraping or sanding any kind of old paint, or being in a place while scraping or sanding is taking place, should be avoided.

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