All paints are made up of pigments and binding agents. Paints can be either water based or oil based. Distemper is a water-based paint and the binding agent used in it is a glue that is made from mammal skin. Earlier, the animal skin that was used in distemper was from rabbit. However, now binding agents can be vegetable-based glue or glue made from eggs or milk.
One would think that since distemper is a water-based paint, there will be no distemper paint health risks. However, this is not always true. Besides, powdered pigment and binding agent, distemper paint also contains other ingredients like flow promoters, thickeners, coalescing agents and preservatives. These additional ingredients help to make the paint easier to use, last longer and give a better finish. These ingredients are chemicals and therefore, can pose health risks.
When it comes to distemper paint health risks, one has to be careful about toxicity. Many distemper paints have toxicological warnings and some of these warnings are related to cancer. Therefore, before selecting a paint, toxicity should be checked and appropriate preventive measures should be taken.
Many paints in the United States use APEs/NPEs, which are surfactants and help in the dispersion of other ingredients in the paint. These chemicals are hormone mimic and can cause hormonal problems. In addition, with the number of chemicals being added to paint these days, a person has to be careful about allergies. In distemper paint, preservatives are capable of causing allergic reactions in people.
You should never use distemper paint on a wet or damp wall as this will facilitate mould growth considering that the paint is also water-based. Molds are major cause of respiratory problems and asthma. The one good thing about distemper paint is that it is not made for walls that are always damp. The binder in the paint wears off after some time and the paint begins to chip and peel.
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