This is kind of an 'out there' question.
I recently started a new job doing exterior painting, and of the 5 days that I've painted in the past 2 weeks, I've felt sick to my stomach and thrown up occasionally. JUST on the days that I paint though. I have no desire to eat on those days, and feel ill and queasy. I'm not sure if it is a paint allergy, or just a random sickness, but I found it ironic that this only happens on the days that I have painted. I'm a very healthy person in general, and have not thrown up in probably the past 10 years. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!
I was an artist my entire life, a good 30 years in the trade, using oil based enamels and petroleum based solvents every single day of it. Fortunately the use of those types of products have been cut way back and we have much more understanding these days on the dangers of such products. I ended up having uncontrollable blood pressure (which some of my doctors) attributed to my exposure to such toxins for so long, and eventually they led to me having 4 strokes and kidney failure.
I would check out the labels of the paints and solvents you use, if it is anything but water. The use of a respirator is in order when ever you are around paint dust, which could be leaded, or any petroleum based paints. If your employer is not providing these to you, and you decide you want to continue painting, I would invest in a good one and wear it religiously.
Have you spoken to your employer about this? Ask him if he has a respirator for you to use to find out if it helps your sick feeling. If it does, you know what to do. If it doesn't you may have to seek another job.
It is not worth it to have a job that makes you sick, that's for sure! Do you like it, and does it pay you well? I would take all that in consideration in deciding if this is the work for you.
Writeleft, I definitely don't like it...but I need some way to pay off student loans. I'm still searching for other jobs as it's minimum wage and random hours. It's definitely not worth getting sick over, but I will definitely ask about respirators. It's a student painting company, and there have been many things that I have spoken to people about regarding safety (ie. ladders, environmental damage, proper equipment, etc...) but this will be another thing that I will have to bring up. I will ask if there are any other tasks that need to be done instead of necessarily painting.
This is all very interesting information! I didn't realize painting outside could cause such a problem!!
Thanks again for the help!
Sunslashsurf, ( I love your screen name by the way)
Happy to help, and my intention was not to scare you, but rather just share my experience with you. We have learned so much since the days I was painting everyday, that I wish I would have known years ago. I also did a lot of painting indoors in poorly ventilated places, which did not help. I was also using lead based enamels, which are not available as they were then. I loved the smell of the paint, and the solvents.
Exterior House paint should not be as dangerous, as long as it is used properly, I am happy to know you are aware of the other safety issues, such as the ladders, the scaffolds, and the equipment you are asked to use. Unfortunately it is only after having an accident or other problem that these issues are looked at. IF you are working at minimum wage and are not being properly protected, that is a red flag...not to mention the fact that you feel sick after painting. Since it is a student painting company, there may not be an experienced painter overseeing the whole shebang.
I understand that things are tough in the job market, and I hope something else comes along for you to do for work. Until then, please protect yourself as much as possible, and do not let yourself become a victim of poor painting tools and equiptment, or an inexperienced painter in charge that has your best interest in mind.
I am off to the doctor, but I will return to see your next message if you have one...Have a good day..