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 Post subject: Dangers of enamel paint
PostPosted: Tue 16 Feb 2016 10:57 am 
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Hi everyone, have been modelling for a good few years on and off, always with humbrol enamels. Recently read on a new tin it should only be used outdoors or a well ventilated area. I knew enamels were more toxic than acrylics but didn't realise it was significant, and after doing a bit of research have got a little concerned.
my problem is all the info seems to be for airbrushing and advises respirators and spray booths, I have only ever brush painted my models.
My question is am I at risk when brushing enamels, should I be wearing a Respirator and am I likely to have already done damage to myself for when I am older. What sort of precautions does anyone else brush applying enamels take?

Thanks for any advice


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PostPosted: Tue 16 Feb 2016 11:07 am 
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Quite frankly this all sounds like H&S overkill :angryfire:
I used enamels for fifty years, brush and spray, no mask, not particularly well ventilated and certainly not outdoors (unless it was a particularly hot day - very rarely), and it hasn't affected me :lovestruck:

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PostPosted: Tue 16 Feb 2016 11:20 am 
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Being honest, I do use some Humbrol enamel paints indoors with hardly any ventilation. I brush paint them and I've never had an issue with them (except a slight whiff).

I think that it refers to those who use it through airbrushes using thinners as the particles become airborne and vapourised.

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PostPosted: Tue 16 Feb 2016 12:02 pm 
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At my old house I spray painted in the garage with the side door open. In my new house I have my own area that used to be a utility area. With luck there was a round hole cut in the window that the previous owner ducted his tumble dryer through. Even more luck it's the same size as the ducting for a spray booth I bought at Telford last year.

It's not so much the paint that can cause problems it's the thinners and ultra fine particles that spraying causes. I wouldn't have though brush painting would cause any problems.

I'm sure current Humbrol enamels smell different to the old ones. One of the smelliest paints I use are the Testors ones in glass jars. Also I have some very old Gloy paints -and they really stink!

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PostPosted: Tue 16 Feb 2016 14:03 pm 
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Thanks everyone that does confirm what I was thinking and hoping, will make sure I keep a window open from now on just to be safe


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PostPosted: Tue 16 Feb 2016 22:28 pm 
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You can get a long way with common sense. If it smells harmful you are almost sure it is.

The first 10-15 years I made models back in the late 60's and 70's I used cellulose thinner to clean my brushes. Headache and running noses was common then. But we did not know or care better then.

Now we have acrylic paint, and a good soapy water can go a long way cleaning acrylic paint from brushes.
And it smells nice to!
I mainly use IPA to clean with. Sometimes Turpentine or Acetone, but only in a few drops at a time. Then I put the cleaning paper out on our balcony.

The warnings today look more like a way to hinder a lawsuit, than to give you a real guideance.

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Feb 2016 00:14 am 
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Can't say I have ever suffered any effects from using enamels but yes no doubt they can be very harmful, as so can many things if used in the wrong way. I do think there could be more clarity in how to use them safely and was looking for advice from fellow modellers who will have common sense and not be influenced by trying to avoid that lawsuit :D


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PostPosted: Wed 17 Feb 2016 02:51 am 
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I think the main point is how you use the paint. If you use a brush, you don't have a cloud of bad solvents and paint particles around you, like if you are using an airbrush Without having enough filter protection or ventilation.

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Feb 2016 08:42 am 
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I agree with Jesper and all the other replies - there will be little risk from brush painting inside, especially the relatively small quantities of enamel paint we use in modelling. It's not at all comparable to airbrushing where you create breathable aerosols (readily absorbable tiny droplets) of the paint - it's that which gives you the exposure. I would take care cleaning the brushes with your chosen paint thinners so as not to get it on your hands, and would dispose of the rags/tissue outside after use, but that's it (after some months, my wife confided that she was worried about the tissues that were appearing on the front doorstep overnight; I had to confess it was me and not a disgruntled postie...)
By way of comparison - we typically paint 2.5 litres of gloss paint on internal woodwork when decorating. Compare that with the few mls of paint we use at a time modelling...
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PostPosted: Wed 17 Feb 2016 09:14 am 
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The rag used for cleaning brushes is something to consider then, I have an old t shirt which I wipe them on and just keep it in my paint box. A switch to kitchen role it is. It does seem to be the brush cleaner which leaves the most lingering smell. Thanks for the tips


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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan 2017 11:00 am 
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I would say the risk is minimaI, if you're not even spraying it.

I do remember it triggering off my asthma when I was a kid, specially in the summer time. My dad used to go running round opening all the windows. I agree with jpb156; It's the thinners on the cloth that causes the vapour to hang around. Alclad II is even worse - it makes the whole house stink like a car-spraying plant.

I've never worn a mask and I doubt many modellers do. I always stick to the original advice from Airfix " Use sparingly in a well-ventilated room". Then again, I'm quite content to use the acrylics nowadays with their nice kitchen smells!


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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan 2017 16:52 pm 
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If you live alone (not pointing any fingers!) then there won't be anyone to tell you that "that stuff stinks." Other people provide a handy way to monitor the level of atmospheric volatile organic compounds. If you can't smell it, then watch the face of someone who walks in the door from outside. Unfortunately, switching from enamels to acrylics is a big deal and you'll face a bit of a learning curve.

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PostPosted: Wed 21 Jun 2017 06:02 am 
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54 years of Airfixing and painting my models with enamels and thinners and I've never known any adverse respitory effects. I am a professional military aviation artist and I paint entirely in an indoor studio all week, every week, with oil paint, linseed oils, white spirit and turps and heaven knows what else. And my working day runs to 12 hours and a lot more sometimes.

Common sense always. Open a window. If only to get the stale air out! But never once had a health issue as a result of working on kits or paintings!

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PostPosted: Wed 21 Jun 2017 21:12 pm 
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Mr TEL wrote:
I'm quite content to use the acrylics nowadays with their nice kitchen smells!

Aha! I´m not the only one who thinks that! :) In the direction of Floor polish or window cleaner ? ..both of which btw, make good flow improvers for the cheaper acrylics...

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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jun 2017 07:52 am 
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Hi

As a doctor I can confirm that "medicine or poison - the discinction is dose", so as a modeller and a user of enamels for most of my first 25 years of modelling in variously aerated rooms I can confirm no adverse effects apart from the odd headache from using turps or white spirit to clean brushes.

Tim H
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