• Share:
Safe and Healthy Spray Painting Tips

Spray paint is toxic, and cheap masks don't offer much protection. The best way to avoid permanent brain damage is to use an activated carbon mask—more expensive, but worth the money.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Safe and Healthy Spray Painting Tips

Spray paint is toxic, and cheap masks don't offer much protection. The best way to avoid permanent brain damage is to use an activated carbon mask—more expensive, but worth the money.

Should I buy an expensive respirator for spray painting?

Check out this warning from a typical spray can label: “Repeated or prolonged exposure to these chemicals without the use of a proper respirator can cause permanent brain damage, as well as damage to your lungs.“ But solvent- based spray paints aren't the only products that present a health hazard. You'll find similar warnings even on water-based spray paints and many insecticides.

The less expensive, N95 particulate filtering respirators (disposable paper masks with two straps) do a great job of filtering out particulate matter. But they don't adsorb toxic chemical vapors. To do that, you need activated carbon. Most $30 and up respirators have a P100 (100 percent efficiency and oil compatible) prefilter and an activated carbon filter for the chemical vapors. However, the $30 carbon filter respirators sold at home centers won't protect you against every single toxic chemical listed on every manufacturer's warning label. The bottom line is, any carbon filter respirator rated for solvents and paint is better than a disposable particulate respirator.

To save money over the long run, buy a respirator that accepts replaceable filter cartridges. But before you shop online, check out the availability of replacement filters at your local hardware or home center. You don't want to be searching every store in town for the right filter in the middle of a project.

Back to Top

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Activated carbon
    • P100-rated respirator

Comments from DIY Community Members

No comments on the article have been posted yet. Be the first to add your comment!

You will be required to log in or create an account to post a comment.

closeX

Add Your Comment

Safe and Healthy Spray Painting Tips

Please add your comment
closeX

Log in to My Account

Log in to enjoy membership benefits from The Family Handyman.

  • Forgot your password?
Don’t have an account yet?

Sign up today for FREE and become part of The Family Handyman community of DIYers.

Member benefits:

  • Get a FREE Traditional Bookcase Project Plan
  • Sign up for FREE DIY newsletters
  • Save projects to your project binder
  • Ask and answer questions in our DIY Forums
  • Share comments on DIY Projects and more!
Join Us Today
closeX

Report Abuse

Subject
Reasons for reporting post

Free OnSite Newsletter

Get timely DIY projects for your home and yard, plus a dream project for your wish list!

Follow Us

Featured Product

Buy Now