What is it?
This type of paint is most often used to paint the outside of the house because it dries very hard and withstands harsh weather conditions for a long time. Sometimes people may use oil-based paint indoors in areas that have a lot of moisture such as in kitchens and bathrooms.
What's in it?
The solids in the oil-based paint are kept suspended by a number of chemicals that are organic solvents. The solvents commonly used in oil-based paints include mineral spirits (naphtha), toluene, xylene, and other petroleum distillate solvents. Oil-based paints are sometimes called Alkyd paints. "Alkyd" refers to the resin type that is used in the paint.
What health and safety precautions do you need to think about with oil based paint?
Oil-based paint contains organic solvents that can be irritating to eyes and skin, and can cause cracking of skin. Inhaling paint fumes can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness, and make you very tired (fatigued) if you breath in the fumes for too long without good air circulation. Most of these symptoms will go away if you remove yourself from the area being painted into fresh air. Let an adult know if you continue not to feel well. If you are exposed to the chemicals in these types of products often you may experience other longer term problems such as kidney, liver or blood effects. Breathing in paint fumes from cans of spray paint on purpose is a very bad idea. It can lead to non-reversible brain damage and death even after the first time.
Befor using these products, you need to be sure to always "Read the Label First" to know how to properly use these products and for safety information. In the room that is being painted, open the windows and doors fully. Put a box fan in the window directing the air and fumes out of doors. Keep the fan on while painting and for about 48 hours thereafter. Keep small children away from the room where the painting is being done and away from the open cans of paint. Do not use paint that is labeled "for exterior use only" indoors. If the room you are painting does not have a window, consider using a latex paint.