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Lymphoma and Pets
Why Sniffing Paint is Bad for You
Need to paint a room? There are even more reasons to choose one of the newer, safer paints available. It isn’t just a marketing gimmick designed to pull out a few extra dollars out of your wallet. There are numerous hazardous chemicals in conventional paint. Those identified to cause harm are known as ‘volatile organic compounds’ or VOCs. These VOCs are derived from petrochemicals and readily release vapors (outgassing) at room temperature, which seriously affects indoor air quality. Not only does outgassing takes place in the first few days after a new paint job but it can continue for months (sometimes even years) after painting.
A number of VOCs such as benzene and formaldehyde are known as carcinogens, which are linked to higher rates of cancer in humans. In 2001 a large-scale study found a significant dose-response relationship between child leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and the number of rooms painted in the year before and the year after the child’s birth.
Another US study at the University of California reported a significant association between household use of paint and childhood leukaemia. Children specifically exposed to paint in the home had a 65% increased risk of ALL. Mothers who used paint during either preconception or pregnancy, had a three-time higher risk of having a child with ALL. In a large case-control study by the US Children’s Cancer Group, women who worked with paint or thinners during pregnancy were almost twice as likely to have a child with ALL.