Can Drinking Acrylic Paint Kill You?

Can Drinking Acrylic Paint Kill YouWe artists are a weird bunch. If the ennui of life is overwhelming and you are considering a cocktail of delicious acrylic paints (yuck!) then there’s a question you’ll want to get answered first. Can drinking acrylic paint kill you? Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but acrylic paint is largely non-toxic and you’d have to drink copious amounts of it to even try. After that, you’ll just get stomach cramps, diarrhea, and a hard-learned lesson in life. Acrylic paint is designed to be one of the safest paints there is.

While acrylic paint is not an effective poison, there is some toxicity to it and that will be the subject of our article today. We’ll talk about its overall toxicity levels, what it can do to your skin, and whether or not it’s safe to drink from a painted cup.

Let’s talk about acrylic and the minimal toxicity involved!

Is acrylic paint toxic to ingest?Is acrylic paint toxic to ingest

Acrylic paint is toxic, but only in very large amounts. If a child or an animal gets ahold of your paints and eats some, the biggest danger wouldn’t the acrylic paints themselves, but possibly any exotic pigments that you sometimes find in the higher end paints.

As far as highly toxic, here are some examples of pigments found in some acrylics that actually can make you pretty sick if you eat them. Let’s look at the colors and the chemical that makes them the exceptions to the non-toxic rule:

  • Antimony white – Antimony white contains antimony trioxide.
  • Flake white – Has lead carbonate in it.
  • Manganese violet – This has manganese ammonium pyrophosphate in it.
  • Vermillion – Mercuric sulfide, anyone?
  • Naples yellow – Lead strikes again, as Naples yellow has lead antimonate
  • Zinc yellow – Zinc chromate is present in tubes or jars of Zinc yellow.

As you can see, there are exceptions to every rule, and so while I can say with confidence that MOST acrylic paint is non-toxic and that drinking acrylic won’t kill you, some colors require toxic pigments to achieve so there are always going to be exceptions.

If you’d like to read a full list of the exceptions, this 3rd party link is an interesting read that can give you the scoop on the paints which are actually toxic and some suggestions for using them with in a proper, safety-first fashion.

Is acrylic paint OK for skin?

Is acrylic paint OK for skinOkay, so we’ve talked about why acrylic is not suitable as ‘Gatorade for artists’, what is the official word on painting your skin with acrylic? Well, from an allergy standpoint, most people won’t be allergic to it and those who are might get blistering at the very worst, but they are more likely to just get a little itchy.

Great, so it’s okay to paint your skin with acrylic?

Not so fast.

Body paints were created for a reason and acrylic paint is not a substitute. While acrylics are non-toxic (mostly) and water-based, they are not suitable for painting your skin. This is because they dry quickly and basically for a semi-plastic matrix, and guess what – it’s bonded to your skin. When the time comes to remove it, you’re faced with the choice of peeling it off like you’re a human orange or applying solvents to your face that your skin is not going to like.

Oil and rubbing alcohol mixed together are the easiest way to get hardened acrylic off of your skin. Water won’t work once it’s dried, unfortunately, as acrylic was designed to be resistant to that sort of thing. That said, when it’s still wet, it’s easy to clean and to wipe off. Just don’t let it harden or it’s really a pain to remove.

In short… acrylic paint is definitely not okay for your skin!

Can you drink from a painted cup?Can you drink from a painted cup

One common question comes from the folks who like to bake acrylic into glass (which is really a lot of fun and you should try it). Can you drink from a painted cup? Well, the paint is usually on the outside of the cup, so that’s definitely not going to hurt you and even if it’s painted up close to the lip of the cup, once acrylic has been baked in, then you’re basically drinking out of a plastic cup.

Hot beverages won’t matter, since the melting point of acrylic is 320 degrees, so you should be fine unless you are secretly the Devil. Cold beverages won’t cut it either, as it’s still pretty much down to the plastic.

So, drink with confidence, your acrylic painted cup is both beautiful and completely safe!

In conclusion

Can drinking acrylic paint kill you? The answer to this is no, with the exception of rarer acrylic paints that use heavy metals for pigments to achieve a distinctive color. These are generally high-end acrylics and a small portion of all of the colors offered, so for the most part acrylics are as-advertised – nontoxic, safe, and beautiful on canvas.

So, that’s all that we have for today. Rest assured that your acrylic paints will be good to you and any assassins out there reading this — you’ll just have to find something else if you want a new poison.