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So, you’ve decided to spruce up your space with a fresh coat of brightly coloured paint. Before you get started it’s important to note whether there any health implications you should be aware of.

When undertaking residential painting, it’s important that you understand what a VOC is and why you shouldn’t sleep in spaces where VOCs are wet. This knowledge can empower you to make the safest decisions for you and your family. 

So, what is a VOC, and what issues should you be on the lookout for? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a VOC?

A VOC is a volatile organic compound. These compounds have high vapour pressure and low water solubility, meaning that the chemicals they contain are potent. 

VOCs are considered pollutants. At room temperature, VOCs vaporise and spread into the atmosphere. This means that it’s easy to breathe in fumes containing harmful chemicals.

In fact, VOCs have been scientifically linked to a range of health implications. Breathing in VOCs can lead to respiratory issues, in addition to headaches, dizziness, and blurred vision. Some studies suggest that, in the long-term, VOCs may even be carcinogenic! 

Do VOCs Smell?

There’s no single rule governing the smell of VOCs. Sometimes, VOCs are strong enough to emit a detectable odour. When painting, you may smell strong fumes that are overpowering within the painted space. 

In other cases, VOCs may smell very little or not at all. Alternatively, a slight smell could be masked by the scents of air fresheners and perfumes. This means that smell alone should not be relied upon as a guide when assessing the risk VOCs may pose.

Are VOCs Dangerous Once Dry?

VOCs are not permanent. Once paint has dried, they begin to dissipate. However, it’s worth noting that VOCs do not become risk-free as soon as the walls are dry. Even after drying, you need to be aware of how the presence of VOCs may be impacting your space. Generally speaking, VOCs disappear from fresh paint within a period of about 6 months - although the length of time to do so can vary widely depending upon the chemical composition of the paint used. 

Can You Sleep in a Freshly Painted Room?

Is it safe to sleep in a freshly painted room? It depends. Different paints rely on different formulas. Some paints are designed to prioritise safety and may have zero or be low in VOCs in order to protect your health. 

You need to make informed decisions that keep you safe and well. Usually, it’s best to ensure that paint has fully dried, and any fumes have completely dissipated before sleeping or spending extended time in the freshly painted space. 

Get Help from the Painting Professionals

Professional painters are kept up to date with the newest paint technology and can source the latest in safe and environmentally friendly products to use in your home, as noted by house painters, Perth based AJ Cochrane & Sons.  If you’re ready to pursue residential painting, it pays to leave it to the experts.