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Paint Facts

Facts About Paint:
Whatever your passion, or obligation, you probably have leftover paint and accessories. It greets you each time you park your car and think about cleaning up the garage.Think about the sources of paint products you have around the house:
    • Half-empty cans from your last paint job or touch-up
    • Leftover stain or varnish from adding an extra coat to your deck or fence
    • Modeling paint from your hobby days
    • Paint thinner or turpentine
    • Brushes, rollers, mixers and paint cans covered in old paint
      Here are a few things you should know about these products:
      • Paint is the most prevalent household hazardous waste (HHW), meaning it makes up the most quantity, by volume, of materials received at HHW collection programs across the country.
      • Paint can be recycled.
      • It is against the law in most places to put free flowing liquids (such as paint) in the trash.
      Let's break it down even further by pointing out the types of paint you may have:Oil-Based PaintBefore 1978, many paint pigments contained fair amounts of mercury. These neurotoxins can be especially harmful to developing children, as well as the adult brain, nervous system and virtually every organ. Commercial or industrial settings still allow the use of lead-based paint and primer. Here are a few other facts about oil-based paint:
      • Today, most oil-based paints are undercoats or primers, stains or special application paints for floors, metal and cars.
      • Oil-based paint will always come in a metal can, with the word "alkyd" often on the label or instructions to "thin" or "clean up" with mineral spirits or turpentine.
      • The paint itself is flammable because it contains petroleum distillates, a fancy word for paint thinner.
      • The vapors it gives off, called volatile organic compounds (VOC's) can be very dangerous.
      Latex PaintToday, most common paints are latex or water-based paints, but these are still considered hazardous. Latex paint contains VOC's, in smaller amounts, and toxic chemicals to help extend shelf life and retard mold and mildew growth. Also, while the amount has been reduced over time, there's no telling how much mercury is in your older paint cans. Here's some more information for you:
      • The danger of mercury or VOCs subsides after the paint dries (so applying it with lots of ventilation and a safety mask would not hurt either). This does not apply to lead-based paint, as the dust or chips are hazardous.
      • Latex paint is water-based, meaning it thins and cleans up with water (no paint thinner required).
      • It (as well as oil-based paint) comes in many different finishes (flat, semi-gloss, gloss, enamel).

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