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Toluene

Links to Parkinsonís Disease, testicular cancer, psychiatric disorders and central nervous system damage

Xylene

Depression of the central nervous system,liver and kidney damage

Ethyl

Damage to the lungs and heart and kidney and liver problems

Formaldehyde

Burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat. Skin irritation. At high levels linked with some cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.

Methylene Chloride

Damage to optic nerve, inflammation of the liver. Risk of cancer of the pancreas, liver and lungs in lab animals (not confirmed in humans)

Glycol

At high levels - liver and heart damage and damage to the central nervous system

.. Paint Chemistry ..

Modern paints and related products, such as thinners or paint stripper, give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Given off as gases, VOCs include a variety of chemicals that might include toluene, xylene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methylene chloride and glycol.

These can lead to air quality problems in the home and pose serious health risks. VOCs are released when using paint products but harmful fumes can continue to 'off-gas' in your home for years after the paint has dried.

The table on the left gives you an idea what these nasty chemicals can do to you. Generally high levels need to be ingested for any irreversable damage but even so it's pretty scary stuff? There's more information on the Nature Paint web site - www.naturepaint.com

Of course not all paints contain these substances, but many do and it's worth checking before you use them. If a manufacturer refuses to divulge the ingredients then the chances are there's something in there that's not very pleasant.