I’m in my first trimester. My husband and I are renovating our kitchen (tile, counter, paint). The contractors will be painting this week and I’m concerned about the paint fumes in the house affecting my baby. Should I be concerned and what can I do to make sure my baby is safe?”
Some paint made in the U.S. before 1978 did contain mercury and lead, and pregnant women who worked with paint were at a higher risk of having babies born with birth defects. But today you have nothing to worry about, so long as painters use paints labeled “non-VOC.” Most indoor house paint sold today will be non-VOC, and grouting is safe.
VOCs are volatile organic/carbon compounds, or gasses, released by evaporation or burning. VOCs are in everything from cleaners to cosmetics, craft supplies and carpeting. Not all VOCs are dangerous, but exposure to some can cause allergic reactions and irritation, and long-term exposure to VOCs during pregnancy in solvents have been associated with birth defects in studies.
So stay away if workers will be stripping paint or grout and mixing solvents for tile.
While there’s painting and grouting going on, run fans and an air purifier and keep the area ventilated so odors don’t make you dizzy or queasy.
If you experience irritation, nausea or feel sick or dizzy, move to a more ventilated place and sit or lie down until you feel better, and perhaps get someone else to finish the job.
Photo copyright/courtesy of Katie at the Bower Power Home Improvement blog — check it out!