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Spray safe!

Discussion in 'Third Rail' started by Ouija, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Ouija

    Ouija Guest

    This is an important topic for beginners, since it addresses your health and how to protect yourself from the chemicals used in paint, markers, and other graffiti tools.

    The most important thing is inhalation. Paint, as well as ink, contains chemicals that can cause nerve damage, cancer, brain damage, kidney problems, and tons of other shitty things. The most straightforward way to protect yourself from fumes is to wear a respirator. A respirator is basically a gas mask that covers just your mouth and nose, with a head strap so you can keep you hands free. Respirators are sold pretty much anywhere that sells paint, or has an extensive paint department. Places like local hardware/paint stores, Home Depot, Lowes, Eagle and Sears have them. Most of the time they're in the paint department, and run between $25-$40 (US). It's sounds like a lot, but dude, I'd rather dish out $40, and get replacement cartridges every so often, than have uncontrollable facial tics, a loose bladder, and renal failure when I'm 45. Make sure the mask filters out paint vapors and is NIOSH/OSHA certified/approved. Read the instructions, because this is the rest of your life you're talking about. Change your cartridges, because the mask is no good when the filters are done.

    In addition to inhaling fumes, paint can soak into your skin and cause the same problems as inhaling the vapors. Your fingers might look cool after a night of painting, but it's a smarter idea to wear latex gloves, for a variety of reasons. A big box of 100 gloves is only a few bucks, and you can get them in the paint section of most department stores, supermarkets (where they keep cleansers and cleaning supplies), and pharmacies. You could even ask your doctor next time you have a check-up if you can get a box. I don't see why they'd say no when you explain you want to keep toxic chemicals off your hands. (I never tried it, I usually just grab a handful when they leave, but it's worth a shot)
    You can also help prevent paint and ink from absorbing into your skin by staying hydrated. Drink water before and after you paint, and you won't get that tired assed-out feeling you sometimes get after a night on the town.

    Check www.graffiti.org for detailed information on health and painting. They have a whole section devoted to real scientific information concerning the chemicals involved with spray paint, how to avoid exposure, and keeping yourself from becoming a drooling slob with incontinence.
  2. Ouija

    Ouija Guest

    Oh yeah......if any of you feel like linking specific pages, copy/pasting information on here, or otherwise adding anything I forgot, please do so.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions you think might be dumb. Fuck the haters.
  3. Smart

    Smart Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 14, 2000 Messages: 17,017 Likes Received: 178
    nobody wants 'the drip' kids... take him seriously.
  4. Pistol

    Pistol Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Jul 12, 2001 Messages: 19,363 Likes Received: 299
    No one wants both versions of "the drip"
    If your going to be painting in an enclosed area for a while make sure you don't just use one of those cheap surgical masks. Those thing's might help keep your boogers from getting all multi colored but the inhalants and other bad stuff can and will STILL fuck you up. If wearing a mask like that you might even be hurting yourself even more because your just getting alot of that stuff stuck inside your mask, thus inhaling that shit straight up.

    *SIZEROKS* Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 16, 2001 Messages: 7,001 Likes Received: 0
  6. hipnos

    hipnos Guest

    i've heard that storing cans without the outer cap can also be a probem, because the propellant leaks out or something. i'm not sure about this, but better safe than sorry..
  7. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    couple things

    hipnos-i think your misinformed, the only way it could leak past the valve would be if the cap was still on and gets pressed down, like in yr. backpack or what have you. it's a good idea to keep the caps in and top on for longevity reasons however.

    on the safety tip, the way to tell if your mask needs new cartridges is if you can smell traces of fumes.

    don't store your mask with your paint, even if it's in a sealed container i'm told that it goes bad too quickly like that.

    aside from the fumes, be safe around high places and heavy moving objects as well.
  8. alkaline

    alkaline Elite Member

    Joined: Apr 2, 2001 Messages: 3,097 Likes Received: 0
    I originally posted this in a glove thread that Daze One Million started in June. It’s long, I know, but it’s very important that everyone is aware of this.

    Check out this picture of some nitrile gloves.

    Also, do a search online, and find 800-numbers of some glove distributers. Sometimes you can call them and ask them to send you a few sample gloves. That way you can make sure you like them before you buy a whole box.

    If this helps even one person, then this post will have been worth my time.
  9. CATS

    CATS Senior Member

    Joined: May 30, 2001 Messages: 1,600 Likes Received: 0
    All I can say is keep the people informed. I had a close friend who would never wear a mask, he would tel me it was gay and that I was paranoid. Wel my homie is now pissing into a bag from paint fume inhalation. Dont catch yourself sleeping, wear your damned mask.
  10. Cracked Ass

    Cracked Ass Veteran Member

    Joined: Oct 24, 2001 Messages: 7,898 Likes Received: 47
    Hipnos, that seepage threat is nonexistent, even from a 300-can stash next to your bed. Seepage occurs very slowly, over the years, from some cans. The amount that seeps out in an hour or a day is what they call "negligible", or so close to zero that it's tough to find a measuring device sensitive enough to pick it up. In any case it's way below what your liver and kidneys can handle around the clock.
  11. wakassOATH

    wakassOATH Guest

    i get my gloves from the doctors office
    my mask is totally fucked i did all the rong things with it
    and it has little holes and streach marks in the inside rubber
    plus my filters are totally shot
    time for a new one
  12. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Guest

    so roof-tops and frieghts are out.

    seriously though, They're are real risks involved (more than just the police).
    I dont think I'm willing to die for the throwup over the freeway.
    Just make sure to plan safely, and work your way up to things.
    There's a reason why some rooftops aren't open to traffic.
    Cellings have canved in and rusted metal lurks almost everywhere.
    The older the building, the greater the risk.
    Even storm drains and gulleys could be the end of it.
    It's very important to play safe.
  13. ~i~hear~voices~

    ~i~hear~voices~ New Jack

    Joined: Sep 5, 2001 Messages: 31 Likes Received: 0
    i cant stress enough with how much u guys need to wear a gloves, and masks.....especially u new comers startin to write.......i know for me i really dont like to use gloves that much but im startin to get in to the groove of using em...i guess why i never used em was cause of the feelin and stuff...but now that i know how much it can fucked up the nerves in ur skin...well thats not my idea of cool...and the mask thing...is very important....before i ever started painting...i always hit my black book...and those uni paint...sharpies....super piolots...etc...arent excalty the smell free type....i remember 5 mins of hittin in that shit...i would come out floatin on cloud nine....which wasnt really cool cause after awhile i started forgeting things...even the smallest shit i couldnt remember...then when i started painting it got kinda worse... i always used to see my folks wearin em when they went and painted i always thought it looked hella stupid so i was like i aint wearin that shit ...but they started noticing how much i could keep my head straight and shit so they gave me a mag on graff health...i know it sounds funny but they actually have that shit so it u cats can get u hands on it go grab it.. or go to that web site ouija recomended...its really use full info....and like he said id rather throw down 40 for a mask and filters then to have tics and bladder problems...which is what i did so i hope now itll help... but the best for u new comers to do is ask questions.... try to find out all the health risk about it and see what u can do to better ur health.....cause i know now that id rather know when i have to go insted of just losing it every 5 sec.......:D
  14. SayOne

    SayOne Guest

    I'd spent a whole day on a fairly large production. I had this brilliant sensation of a burning throat, chest and stomach. I felt dizzy and sick. This is when I finally realized paint fumes were really starting to get to me.

    Anyone who has ever done a piece should know afterwards, the colour of your main fill-in, reappears when you blow your nose. If you're saying "yuk.. I don't look at my snot", - let me put it to you another way. Ever painted indoors? If you have, you'll know what I mean by "spray mist". Spray cans let the paint out, and most of that paint lands on your train, wall or whatever, but the gas drifts on outwards.. until it settles. When you're painting, your lungs take in this mist, the inside of your lips and nose absorb it. (Ever seen anyone sniff cocaine?) Paint-toxins can even be absorbed through your skin. (Read anything on aromatherapy baths etc.) Now with this knowledge, think about the ground underneath your piece.. did it ever have a taint of your main colours? A cover of fine, sticky, dusty pigment? Now think about that in your body... Now buy (or rack) yourself a mask, pronto.

    What Mask?
    A decent mask should cover your nose and mouth. It should have at least two filters. The outside filter is called a "dust filter", and usually consists of filt, or a paper based filter, in plastic casing. The outside filter stops you inhaling the dusty particles of paint mist. The inside filter is a "gas filter", and usually consists of a coal-based substance, in a metal casing. This is the filter that stops the gas/fumes - which you may not notice as easily as the "paint dust" - yet this is the most hazardous aspect of using aerosols.

    Both filters should fit in, or screw into your mask. Masks themselves are generally made of latex, plastic or rubber, and should strap on tightly enough to stop you inhaling any other way than through the filters. There is usually a simple valve on the mask itself - which allows you to exhale.

    Filters will continuously "clean" air if they are left in an open space. So when your mask is not in use, keep it in a clean airtight container. (Your mothers tupperware will do ;-)

    If you ever smell or taste paint through the mask, it's time to change filters. Generally - depending on how much you paint - changing once a year is advisable.

    There are other, cheaper forms of masks, but these usually only stop dust/mist.. they're meant for sawdust.. not toxic fumes... by all means they're better than nothing - but not good enough.


    Before and after you paint, make sure you eat and drink (preferably water). This should make your body less absorbent to the paint's toxins. Never clean your spray can tips by blowing through them, (this will invariably cover your lips in paint), do it as it says on the can, hold upside down, and spray until only gas comes out.

    In my case, I think I might of realized just in time. I'd never suffered from asthma before. Now, when I run to catch a train or whatever, I'll quite often end up wheezing and puffing badly.

    The following extract is quoted from Upski's book "Bomb The Suburbs". If I haven't influenced you, hopefully this will:

    "We used to have a joke that spray paint was fucking up our memories. A few weeks ago, Mario called me with a new joke. When we were 13 and 14, we painted dozens of walls together, traded girls, fought gangbangers, battled other crews, and talked on the phone almost every day. For a while, Mario was my best friend. After we stopped hanging out, he got even deeper into painting. He painted with different partners every week, traded photos around the world, and filled his life with graffiti. Even the great Trixter had said he was a graffiti head.

    We used to have a joke that spray paint was fucking up our memories. A few weeks ago, Mario called me with a new joke. "It wasn't the memory, it was the bladder," he said. "About a year ago I started noticing I had to use the washroom more often. Before I learned to control it, I would urinate in bed even. It kept getting worse. Now, I can't drink anything for two hours before I go to bed. I pee once before bed, then I have to get up again twice during the night"

    The neurotoxins in spray paint have damaged the part of Mario's brain which produces hormones to control his bladder. The label on any spray can will tell you it can also damage the immune and nervous system, kidney, liver and lungs - the same is true for a lot of markers.

    Anyone who's gone piecing has felt the slight dizziness, and loss of appetite. Some of us get headaches and nausea. I personally get muscle spasms and my hair is starting to go (one of four writers I know who're early balding). In the long run, who knows? Spray paint could be our Asbestos, our AIDS.

    Coincidentally, I have a second friend named Mario. This Mario lives on the West Side, and he's at least as much of a graffiti head as the first Mario. He paints at least as much as the first Mario, and has at least as many problems. "All my life, I never used to pick my nose," he told me recently. "Then in 1988, I started having to pick my nose all the time, getting paint-colored snot, scratchy throat, wheezing. Then one time, I did this real big production and I coughed up blood. After that I lost my voice for like a week. Dude, I was scared. I didn't want anybody to know. The doctor told me don't spray paint no more. I kept doing it, and my symptoms kept getting worse. I stutter... I get a tightness in my eye, twitches in my wrist... Dude, I get major, major headaches... The worst part is, I feel like I'm getting stupider; I can't articulate myself as well as I used to be able to... I think I'm addicted to doing graffiti, I fiend for it. Graffiti is my life. I feel like I might have to die for it."

    I have to admit, death by graffiti sounds like an honorable way to go out. I dream of it myself. But isn't that giving up at the game, copping out at the challenge of life: the challenge to be stronger, smarter, healthier, better than we thought we could be. The challenge to survive.

    Mario, I don't want to visit you in the hospital or at the cemetery, and I don't want you to visit me there. Sometime in life, I too may have to cough up blood, lose my hair, or to lose my mind because of the painting I've done. But I ain't going out like no sucker.

    When I use spray paint, I do everything to dilute the toxins and keep them out of my body. I eat before and after painting, use the wind to avoid inhaling fumes, steer clear of other toxins, refuse to paint indoors, and refuse to go out unless I really care about the piece. Most of all, I wear gloves and a mask, changing the filters regularly. I'm wearing that fucker right now. Please wear your mask too, Mario. Both of you. that shit ain't funny no more."

    Taken from "Bomb The Suburbs - revised second edition", by William Upski Wimsatt,
  15. kidney stones are by no means fun at all. it took me three months to pass one that was 6mm by 3mm in diameter. lots of blood pissed away and a day spent in a canadain hospital while on vacation.