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Paints and varnishes

Paint is a chemical product and a mixture of pigment, binder, and solvent. Sometimes antifungal agent is added in water-based paints. Antifungal agents can cause allergies, so if you are hypersensitive, you have to pay attention if the label provides information about possible allergic reactions. Often a solvent such as glycol ethers is added to prevent the paint from forming lumps. Pigments are chemical substances which give paints their colours. Paint contains only organic pigment which is not hazardous to health or the environment. Bonding agent in the colours of today is not hazardous to the human health and environment.

Solvent gives paint its smooth texture. In the past, the most common product used was the white spirit, which gave good results. However, its use was phased out (use of this type of solvents are banned), especially in paints and varnishes for general use, since white spirit can give rise to chemical pneumonia if you happen to swallow it, and can cause dry or cracked skin. Oil-based paints containing white spirit can give off irritating substances during the time it takes for the paint to dry. In addition, white spirit is flammable and toxic to aquatic organisms and has long-term effects on the aquatic environment.

Due to hazardous properties of organic solvents, water-based paints and varnishes are used more often today.


  • Read the paint and varnish label carefully in order to determine whether they contain any hazardous ingredients, their properties as well as precautionary statements. These statements give advice to ensure the safe use of chemicals.
  • Do not use paint, varnish or spray containing white spirit near children.
  • Make sure that your workspace is well ventilated while painting and varnishing.
  • Do not leave the brushes in the solvent in places accessible to children.