Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

November, 2002

Health Risks With Paints and Coatings

Q. My husband is about to paint our basement that we're finishing when I noticed on the back of the can of paint that is says it has chemicals in it that are known to cause cancer in the state of California...what is this all about and should I not use this paint? I called the Home Depot where we bought it and he said that is probably on all cans of paint? Is this true and should I be afraid to paint my basement with this paint? The paint is Glidden Evermore Interior Latex enamel satin..these numbers are also on the can...HD6211Base1.

A. In the case of the paint you mentioned, you should know that all paints contain chemicals that have a potential to be hazardous for one reason or another. Some contain ingredients that might be carcinogenic when inhaled over a very long period of time. In my personal opinion you have nothing to fear if the paint was purchased at a consumer store. OSHA regulations have been written to protect the consumer.

Having said this you should always bear in mind that when you apply a paint you should in any case wear a respirator, gloves, coverall, etc., although most home owners voluntarily choose not to take these precautions. Once the paint is in place and has dried, you should have no reason to worry.

If you still have concerns, please send an email to the paint manufacturer requesting more information.

Hope this answers your question.

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