Breathing Problems from Plasti-Kote Spray

Updated July 19, 2017

Plasti-Kote, based in Medina, Ohio, is a maker and marketer of a wide range of aerosol spray paints, speciality and decorative finishes, and maintenance paints and coatings, many of which are geared toward the auto and truck markets and the automotive aftermarket. Improper use of aerosol spray paints can cause breathing problems and exacerbate existing respiratory distress.

What Are Aerosol Spray Paints?

According to Plasti-Kote, an aerosol spray paint is a spray can that contains a combination of fine particles of paint of various colours, suspended in solvent and resin, along with a propellant solution or gas (usually butane). The propellant or gas is what sends the paint out of the spray can; the solvent keeps the paint from drying or caking in the can or clogging the nozzle; and the resin protects the finish, once the paint has fully dried.

Plasti-Kote Aerosol Sprays

Plasti-Kote has made latex and oil-based enamel paints and spray finishes for cars and trucks for more than 75 years. Products include Anodizit, Brake Caliper Paint, Metal Flake, and Truck Bed Liner coatings, as well as sand-able and speciality primers, vehicle touch-up paints, and speciality paints. Plasti-Kote spray paints contain no fluorocarbons, which are considered harmful to the ozone.

According to Plasti-Kote, all of its general purpose paints are lead-free, but some of its car and truck products do contain lead. Plasti-Kote was one of the first U.S. manufacturers to develop environmentally safer, water-based aerosol paints, beginning in 1977.

Butane Propellant Warnings

Breathing in the butane propellant gas used in many aerosol spray paints can cause wheezing, trouble breathing, drowsiness, narcosis, asphyxia, and cardiac arrhythmia, so spray paint should never be used in an enclosed space. Also, according to the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA), butane-propelled aerosols should never be used where a gas fire is burning or a pilot light is on because propellant fumes can cause a flash fire. Aerosols should always be stored far from heat.

Inhaling Aerosol Paint Fumes

When inhaled, particularly in an enclosed space, aerosol paint spray fumes can cause severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, wheezing, problems breathing, respiratory distress, and hypoxia (the lack of oxygen). Wheezing and hypoxia can then trigger a severe asthma attack, which can lead to pneumonia or even precipitate cardiac failure.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), lead-based and methylene chloride spray paints, ingredients of which are in some Plasti-Kote aerosols, can also cause breathing problems and lung dysfunction.

Hexavalent Chromium

Solvent-based paint can contain toxic compounds, including hexavalent chromium, which the IARC has classified as a human carcinogen. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also cites it for contributing to asthma, nasal irritation and ulceration, perforated nasal septa, rhinitis, nosebleed, respiratory irritation, and sinus cancer.

Long-Term Breathing Problems

Use of propellant spray paint aerosols is not recommended if you have long-term breathing problems, such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as the fumes can trigger an attack, cause respiratory distress, or worsen your condition.

Safe Use of Aerosol Paint Sprays

To prevent breathing problems, according to Plasti-Kote, always use aerosol spray paints outside, never in an enclosed area. Make sure the wind is behind you when you spray, so the propellant, chemicals, and paint spray travel away from you. Always wear a safety mask to protect your nose, mouth, and lungs and plastic goggles to protect your eyes.

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About the Author

Kim Norton wrote for 25 years for an in-house securities research publication. She currently writes articles for Demand Studios that involve medical research, law and senior citizen concerns. She also writes radio advertising copy and opera librettos. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, Norton resides in Bayonne, N.J.