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Toxicity of Model Making Paints and Products

Murph writes:

“I am a 70 yr old man who has multiple health issues including COPD, Lupas. I have a real desire to model a portion of the LTV Steel mill in Cleveland, Ohio, where I worked for 40+ years. Two problems. I haven’t modeled anything since I was 15. I bought a small paint booth and plan on other precautions but would like comments from those who have already used model-making products, adhesives, and paints.”

Obviously, Murph will need to make his own decisions based on his personal medical condition and circumstances, but readers might like to add details from their own experiences below.

5 Responses to Toxicity of Model Making Paints and Products

  • David Smith says:

    Hi Murph. I am 76. I worked for BHP Newcastle (NSW) Steel Works for 33 years.

    Fortunately, now there are many model paints and glues which don’t have toxic or irritating fumes. If you are buying from a reputable hobby shop, you can enquire about suitability. As you will probably doing more modelling during winter when the house is sealed up, this is important.

    Use a disposable dust mask made to P2 or NH95 standard for spray painting, sanding/machining wood, paint or anything else which generates dust. As you probably know, you must be clean shaven for a mask to seal properly on your face. If you are using solvent paints or aerosol paints, you should use a two cartridge half face re-useable respirator with paint cartridges, and a paint booth which vents to the outside of the house or shed,

    My wife has COPD and she finds that about half an hour at the shopping center with a medical face mask on is all she can tolerate before she has to get out and get it off.

    I hope this may be of help to you.
    David Smith

    • Peter B. says:

      Make sure your spray booth has an exhaust fan and filter. Exhausting to the outdoors if possible. If spraying flammable paint, the fan motor needs to be brushless to avoid any sparking.

  • Geoff says:

    I came back to model railways after a gap of maybe 40 years or so, and was quite surprised at how strong the smells of the paints and glues were. But with a little research I found some that have hardly any smell. I use Vallejo paints which are water based acrylics – I use the brush on line, but they also have paints for spraying – and Testors non toxic plastic cement in the blue tube. I am sure there are other brands.

  • Dale S. Ambos says:

    I have a severe allergy to CA glue. I’m 74. It started 25 years ago when I used build model RC airplanes. CA worked great for that purpose, I suffered a completely stuffed up head and sinuses for a couple of weeks. I just thought it was a cold. I did not use an N95 mask or respirator, but should have. I don’t know if they would have helped anyway. Well, I used CA again when gluing track to a trestle bridge and the same thing happened. I’m in good health otherwise, and the modern paints don’t seem to bother me. I use acrylic brush-on paints most of the time without consequence. I do go outside when using a spray can. I don’t have a paint booth. I’ve heard of others being allergic to CA, so beware.

  • Frank B says:

    Please read: 

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