Greenpainters  urges pregnant women and parents of young children to use their services so that paint fume allergies caused by paints and solvents can be prevented.

A new study has found that children who sleep in bedrooms containing fumes from water-based paints and solvents are 2-4 times more likely to suffer allergies or asthma.

The research was a collaborative study between scientists at Harvard University and Sweden's Kalstad University.

Published in the journal of the Public Library of Science, PLoS ONE, the study analysed air quality in the bedrooms of 400 toddlers and preschoolers for chemical compounds such as propylene glycol and glycol ethers known as PGEs.  

Researchers found that higher concentrations of these chemicals were linked with substantially higher rates of asthma, stuffy noses and eczema.

The study followed 198 children in Varmland, Sweden aged 1-5 years who had a history of asthma or at least two symptoms of wheezing or rhinitis (nasal allergies) without a cold or eczema in the preceding year, as well as 202 children with no symptoms.

Results from the study:

  • Bedrooms of children with nasal allergies tended to have an increased PGE concentration level that was twice as high as the concentration found in rooms of children with no symptoms
  • Children in bedrooms with the highest concentrations were 4.2 times more likely to have rhinitis, twice as likely to have asthma and 2.5 times more likely to have eczema
  • Repainting at least one room in the house before or after the birth of a child was associated with a 63% increase in mean PGEs compared to those who never repainted

Propylene glycol and glycol ethers are a diverse group of compounds with superior solvent and coalescent properties. Due to their lower volatility and higher degree of solvency, they are widely used in water-based paints.  

GreenPainters Managing Director Daniel Wurm advises pregnant women and parents of young children to check the GreenPainters website for suitable products prior to painting, and to only engage the services of trained GreenPainters.

He adds that accredited GreenPainters are qualified to offer advice to consumers on sustainable as well as green paints and coatings.