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Old 05-24-2019, 11:59 AM
satandraws satandraws is offline
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Question smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

Hi, I smelled the tubes of cad red, cad yellow and titanium white directly 2 months ago. It was my first time working with acrylics and I didnít know that cadmiums are toxic. I remember my head hurt that day. I also got some paint on my skin..
The problem is, my cold isnít getting better and my nose has been stuffed for months.. has this ever happened to you?
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:25 PM
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ColinS ColinS is online now
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Re: smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

Were they good quality name brand paints or paints by a small local or low cost manufacturer?

No one has a cold for 2 months, so I would recommend a visit to a doctor to see if you have a sinus infection. I doubt it would be related to the paints, but I am neither a toxicologist nor a doctor. Perhaps the fumes irritated the lining of your sinuses in a way that has resulted in some aggravated sinus issue.
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:08 PM
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Re: smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

This has been discussed several times in the wet canvas forums. Don't worry so much about paints. If it was such a serious/immediate risk, myriads of painters in this forum would be seriously ill and the paints forbidden forever. Yes, one has to be careful, avoiding to do it all the time, however the quantity of harm substances isn't big that's why we are allowed to use them, taking precautions of course. Low cost paints contain even less cadmium than expansive ones Fumes from a tube are a small quantity. In case of some big can of 1 liter it could be else. I think solvents for oil colors are worse for much more people.

If this is the first time you use acrylics, you can look if you are somehow sensitive to their ingredients. Cadmium or titanium aren't the only harmful ingredients in the colors. There are other chemicals too, in much more quantities. If so, you have perhaps to avoid contact to acrylics, not just to smell them.

It is probable that your nose problem is due to some allergy, something usual in spring. Myself, I had nothing like this as a youngster, but now I have similar problems almost every winter & spring (I don't use oils or acrylics these late years, just colored pencils, watercolors and legacy graphite pencils).
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:11 PM
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Re: smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

Liquitex, Utrecht and many other brands have cadmium-free paints available. I know many people say they donít have the same properties as the pure pigments when mixing but Iíve seen very little difference. Maybe try a cadmium-free version of those pigments.
Ken R.
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:19 PM
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Re: smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

I am not positive, but I do not think cadmium can "off gas" under normal room temps. Anything you smelled would be most likely from the solvents or emulsifiers, not the cadmium. Now, if you had INGESTED some paint, that would be a different story. Hope you feel better soon!
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:26 PM
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Re: smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

I'm pretty obsessive regarding toxins because of my dogs and cats but the paints are safe. I've copy/pasted a quote from a manufacture/artist site that explains it a bit better. The powdered pigment is dangerous but once it's made into paint it's safer for humans and using it is less hazardous.

However, during the paint-making process the pigment is fused with sulfides and coated in the particular mediumís binder (oil, acrylic, gouache or watercolor). This process renders the cadmium insoluble in water, and therefore the human body. We canít absorb it. So no gloves are necessary. And cadmium paints donít give off any dust or fumes, so no worries about inhalation either.≥ Iíve just recently spoken again with a paint manufacturer who said that the paint-making process makes cadmium colors safe in oil, acrylic, gouache and watercolor. DanSchultz

I wouldn't suggest licking it or snorting anything including many of the products out there to be used as food! (Orange cheese???)

If you eat a live toad first thing every morning you're pretty much guaranteed nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:04 PM
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BeeCeeEss BeeCeeEss is offline
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Re: smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

There is ammonia used in most brands of acrylic paints to help keep the paints free of mold. Many people have a high sensitivity to ammonia. Perhaps that is what caused your headache afterwards. However, I would think the exposure to the minor amount of ammonia fumes would have to be prolonged for it to have much effect.

To be on the safe side, I would recommend consulting with a doctor.

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Old 05-25-2019, 01:02 AM
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Re: smelled the tubes of liquitex acrylic paints directly..

As someone who is highly allergic to ammonia I can honestly say I have never had a reaction to the quality paints I use. Not a very neat painter. I can end up with as much paint on my hands and me as I do in the painting. Never had a problem. Not even with the cad reds or yellows.

Agree with seeing a doctor. Sniffing the paint my just be a coincidence.
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