Can Acrylic Paint Cause Allergic Reactions?

Can Acrylic Paint Cause Allergic ReactionsIf you’ve just gotten your first set of acrylics and an untimely rash, you probably want to know if the two are connected. Acrylic paint is touted as non-toxic an allergen free, after all. So, can acrylic paint cause allergic reactions? As it turns out, some people out there might be mildly allergic to it. While largely non-toxic, acrylic paint does contain formaldehyde and some other additives that are in there to keep mold out, and some people are quite sensitive to this.

Today we’ll tour the toxicity factors of acrylic paint, as minimal as they are, and I’ll give you some tips for minimizing fumes that you might find useful just to make it worth your while. Let’s explore the toxic parts of our favorite non-toxic paint!

How do you know if you’re allergic to acrylic paint?How do you know if you're allergic to acrylic paint

If you are one of those rare poor souls who are allergic to acrylic paint, then you should be aware of it fairly quickly… in most cases (I’ll explain that shortly). The first tip will likely be the fumes. While acrylic paint fumes are fairly mils compared to a lot of other paints, they’re definitely still there, and if you’re allergic you’ll probably get a good whiff of those fumes and start to get a runny or a stopped-up nose.

Throat irritation and coughing might present itself in extreme cases and your eyes will probably get runny pretty fast, depending on the severity of the allergy. As far as direct contact to the skin goes, you might develop a small rash or simply feel itchy and in cases of an extreme reaction, you might get blisters.

Now, before you get worried, the chances of this are probably best described as ‘low enough to limbo under bar-codes’. While I couldn’t find cold, hard facts on acrylic paint specifically, acrylic nail polish paint contains methacrylates, and methacrylate polymers are also in some of your acrylic paints. The studies performed on reactions to this suggest that only 2.4 percent of the population have allergic reactions to this.

The closest way I can describe that without resorting to a lot of math (I hate math) would be to say if you took the world’s population in 2020 of 7.8 billion, then just a little over the population of Russia that year would be the only people in the world allergic to acrylic.

One note, however, for those who think that they might still be allergic. Some expensive acrylics have some pretty exotic pigments, so try to see if you only get a rash with certain colors… it might just be one specific paint!

What gets rid of paint fumes fast?

What gets rid of paint fumes fastWhen you are worried about paint fumes, the best thing that you can do is to adopt some hard and fast rules when it comes to your painting time. First off, you want to make sure that the area you are painting is well ventilated. The easiest thing to do is to open the window or get a fan, or even both.

Next up, you can consider getting a portable air filter unit. These are pretty amazing and a lot of professional painters bring them when they go on jobs because these things WORK. Some of them have HEPA compliant air filters, which means that they are capable of sucking up dust and other particles with about a 99.9% efficiency rating.

These filters are used in a larger scale in places where dust can ruin everything, such as microchip manufacturing plants and pharmaceutical labs. This technology has been around for a long, long time, so you can get a little one on the cheap and you might find that you can easily paint now to your heart’s content.

Also, those disposable surgical gloves you can get at the pharmacy can keep the paint off your skin without affecting your dexterity, so if you want a workaround that you can try then I hope these suggestions will be useful!

Does acrylic paint have formaldehyde?Does acrylic paint have formaldehyde

Yes. While there’s not enough formaldehyde in there to preserve anyone for the afterlife, there are trace amounts of formaldehyde inside acrylic paint and also inside some gouaches. Formaldehyde also has a little ammonia in it, as well. These two chemicals are in there for a good reason, though, as they help to make sure that your paint doesn’t get all moldy if it doesn’t dry fast enough and to preserve the integrity of the polymer acrylic resin suspension.

It’s a very, very tiny amount involved, but yes… it’s in there!

To be fair though, formaldehyde is in a lot of things that you might not suspect, such as dish and laundry detergents, bath soaps, and more, so make of that what you will.

Some closing words

So, there you have it. Acrylic paints can cause allergic reactions but the chances of this are very minimal and the symptoms are mild at most. If you think that you might allergic, consider surgical gloves and an air purifier and you should be able to paint to your heart’s content.

Since we’re on the subject of toxic art, be sure to check out this fun 3rd party link that talks about some art supplies that are a little on the dark side of health. It’s a fun read and I hope you enjoy it!