The most common question related to pregnancy and paint exposure has to do with painting the new baby’s nursery or decorating the house before the baby arrives. Being a mother myself I am very passionate about this topic and will begin by sharing my personal advice first....I hope you don't mind. Then, I will follow up with factual information so you can make your own educated decision. Here we go...
Let’s be honest…
If you are pregnant we need to first acknowledge the reason why you are researching this topic. Your mama-bear instincts are telling you loud and clear there are risks involved and warning you not to do it. I truly believe a woman's intuition is her strongest tool in life and should be listened to at all times. Especially when it comes to our personal well being and protecting our family.
We also need to acknowledge it is a human tendency to seek out the answers we want to hear in order to justify our desires, decisions and actions. The internet has an endless supply of opinions on whether or not a pregnant woman should paint...some are educated, some are not. It is my hope that this article will help guide you towards a decision that will best serve you and your family.
Although Porch Nook’s chalky finish paint (a low-VOC product) is perfectly safe to use when using common precautions recommended by the paint industry, it is my recommendation to avoid ANY and ALL chemicals while pregnant. This includes “low-VOC” and “zero-VOC” paint products.
Let’s think this through…
After applying a chalky finish paint to a piece of furniture, two additional steps are required before the project is completed.
(Disclosure: I receive commission for purchases made using Amazon links in my article. I appreciate your support!)
- Sanding – To achieve a distressed look and/or achieve a smooth texture along the entire surface of a piece, sanding #CommissionEarned is required after the paint dries. This will result the release of dust particles in the air, on your clothes and your entire work area. Wearing a respirator mask #CommissionEarned with the appropriate filters #CommissionEarned is always recommended when sanding down chalky finish paint. Although wearing a mask will help you avoid inhaling the dust from the paint you just applied, don’t forget you may also be creating dust from materials that originally existed on the piece. For example: varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, or even LEAD PAINT if the piece was painted before or around 1978.
- Sealing– All chalky finish paint brands require a sealant to be applied to the finished piece in order to protect it from chipping, scratches and stains. There are ZERO sealants in the market that are safe for pregnant women. Those who are pregnant should AVOID using ALL types of sealants, this includes wax, water based and oil based.
RECOMMENDATION: Just don't do it! Unless you have a friend who is at least willing to complete the sanding and sealing steps for you, hold off on your project until that little-love-of-your-life is born.
The Facts About Paint
Thank you so much for considering my personal opinion regarding this topic. Now, let’s arm you with some factual information supplied by the government, paint industry and women’s health organizations so you can make your own educated decision. Here are some excellent resources for your consideration:
Can I paint furniture while pregnant?
It's best to limit your exposure to paint and paint fumes while you're pregnant. Choosing a paint labeled "low-VOC" or "zero-VOC” is recommended. These are usually latex paints that contain lower levels of solvents, or "volatile oil compounds." Even the zero-VOC products may still contain some solvents.
Those who are pregnant tend to seek out furniture paint products that are labeled “non-toxic”. It’s important to define “non-toxic” within the context of pregnancy first to assure all factors are considered. The term Non-Toxic encompasses three things:
- Low or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
- Being Lead-Free
- Not adding Silica
Similar to large leading paint brands, Porch Nook chalky finish paint is latex and water based, low-VOC, lead-free, and it does contain Silica.
Here is more information regarding Silica:
The state of California does require Porch Nook and all leading latex paint brands to publish on its containers, “This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.”
Crystalline silica is only a hazard when it becomes airborn. The most severe exposures to crystalline silica result from sandblasting, which may be done to clean sand and irregularities from foundry castings, finish tombstones, etch or frost glass, or remove paint, oils, rust, or dirt from objects that will be repainted or treated.
For all latex based paint products in the market, Porch Nook recommends wearing a respirator mask #CommissionEarned with appropriate filters #CommissionEarned at all times when sanding these products to achieve a smooth surface and/or distressed look.
If you must paint the nursery while pregnant, make sure you follow these guidelines to decrease the likelihood of paint exposure:
- Protect your skin by wearing protective clothing that includes long pants, long-sleeved shirts and gloves.
- Be certain that the room and house are well ventilated; open the windows and turn on fans.
- Limit the time you spend on the project; take breaks and move into the fresh air frequently.
- Keep your food and drinks away from the area so solvents and chemicals will not accidentally be consumed
REMEMBER: All chalky finish paint brands require a sealant to be applied to a painted piece in order to protect it from chipping, scratches and stains. There are NO sealants in the market that are safe for pregnant women. Pregnant women should AVOID using ALL types of sealants, this includes wax, water based and oil based. Unless you have a friend who is willing to complete the sealing step for you, hold off on your project until your baby is born.
Thank you so much for reading!