Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

March, 2005

When do I need a Paint Spray Booth?

Q. When spraying lacquer inside a building, how much spraying can be done before coming under the EPA guidelines and requirements?

A. You should be more concerned about the fire department than the EPA. When you spray apply paint coatings inside a building you always raise the potential for a fire or explosion. If the solvent vapors exceed 25% Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) the fire risk is considerable. I can't tell you how much paint must be spray applied to exceed this limit since it depends on several factors.

OSHA health and safety considerations must also be considered. How many people other than the painters are exposed to the paint thinners (solvents) and what type of paint coatings are you applying? Polyurethanes, for instance pose a significant health risk if those who inhale the coating emissions are not protected with appropriate respirators. You really should go into this in some detail to insure that employees are not exposed to these hazardous compounds.

Local state air pollution agencies have differing requirements on when a paint spray booth is required. In some states you need to install a spray booth even if you only use one quart of paint per day. Other states are more lenient. It is your responsibility to find out what your local agency requires.

I hope this helps.

Best Wishes,

Ron Joseph

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