Is Acrylic Paint Toxic? Everything You Need to Know

With springtime in full bloom, many people are starting to enjoy painting outdoors. However, before grabbing your paintbrush and heading outside, you may want to consider the toxicity of acrylic paint. While it is not necessarily dangerous to use, some potential health risks are associated with this type of paint.

Acrylic Paint may or may not be toxic. Some forms of acrylic paint contain toxic components, but others do not. Many professional and semi-professional painters use acrylic paints because they are easy to clean up and dry quickly. However, the effects of using these paints over several years can be detrimental to your health. 

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the dangers of acrylic paint and provide some tips for minimizing your exposure.

Are Acrylic Paint Ingredients Toxic?

Some acrylic paint forms contain known carcinogens and toxic components such as toluene, ethyl acetate, and phthalates. The paint can also emit other harmful chemicals into the air that can cause irritation or long-term respiratory problems.

Organic pigments in acrylic paint may also stand out more than traditional oil paints.

Lead – a neurotoxin that causes health problems such as memory loss, reduced intelligence, or seizures

cadmium – a highly toxic metal that can cause nausea and kidney disease

– chromium salts – is used to make paints more durable adds a yellow tint. However, breathing in this chemical has been linked to asthma, nosebleeds, and lung disease

cobalt – a metal used to create blue and green paints. Ingesting cobalt can lead to poisoning, as it alters the body’s ability to transport oxygen.

manganese  – a neurotoxin that has been linked to Parkinson’s disease

Some of these chemicals are banned in the United States. However, they are still used in other countries and may make their way into products made in America.

The ingredients listed above can be found in small amounts of acrylic paints. The effects depend on how much is mixed into the paint. For instance, lead may not concern a pale blue or greenwash used for wall decoration.

However, if the paint contains greater concentrations of metals and pigments, it could cause cancer or other health problems.

Is Acrylic Paint Poisonous on Skin?

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On Skin, Face and Body? Read the full article here.

Acrylic paint is made from a plastic substance that can attach to your teeth and other tissues in your body. Even if the paint does not contain harmful chemicals, it should not be ingested. This means that any paint you touch or eat should be washed off immediately!

You may also want to consider wearing gloves when painting to prevent ingesting the product.

How to Minimize Your Exposure to Acrylic Paint

Use less paint

Paint comes in a range of viscosities or thicknesses. You do not need a thick layer of color for your painting project so consider using acrylics with less pigment. Thinner paints have fewer chemicals and are easier to clean up.

Use water-based paints

Water-based paints are most acrylic paint products found in art stores. Many manufacturers do not use chemicals in these paints, which means you can avoid purchasing hazardous health items.

Ventilate your workspace when using acrylics or watercolors

Store paint indoors instead of outside.

Work in a well-ventilated area to remove gases or vapors mixed with paint. Open windows and turn on fans to improve air circulation.

Use a mask and gloves.

Cover your nose and mouth with a paint mask when working with acrylic paints. Wear latex or vinyl gloves to reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals during the painting process. Always wash your hands after you finish working!

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic for Babies??

Generally, acrylic paint is considered safe for use around babies. However, some paints may not be as durable as others and could chip off or stain skin. You should avoid applying acrylics to toys that your child would frequently put in their mouth. 

Always wash your hands after using the art supplies, and avoid letting babies or young children ingest any of these paints.

Even non-toxic paint can become poisonous when it comes in contact with someone’s skin or mouth. That means you should also avoid using paint to decorate children’s bedrooms or furniture unless an adult is supervising the project.

Babies’ skin is more sensitive than adult’s, so anything you apply on them directly can have negative effects. Therefore, avoid using acrylic paint for decoration on baby clothes or toys.

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Some people apply paint to their children’s faces for Halloween or other costumes. If you decide to do this, please let the kids wash their faces before going to sleep. This will reduce exposure to harmful chemicals, and you can also save your child from having funny-colored skin in the morning.

The best advice is to consult with your pediatrician if you are concerned about using acrylic paint around your children. By informing yourself of the potential risks, you can make decisions that reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals. The American Academy of Pediatrics has information on toxic art supplies.

However, if an accident occurs and a child swallows or breathes in paint, call poison control for further guidance. They will assess the situation and tell you if your child needs medical attention.

Babies can be exposed to acrylic paint by swallowing it or breathing it in when an adult works with this art medium. Ingestion may not cause immediate health problems, so avoiding letting children near the paint is important.

Finally, do not let toddlers play with dried or hardened paint on surfaces such as floors or walls. If acrylic paint becomes mixed with dust, it can be kicked up into the air and cause respiratory issues.

Children should stay away from dried acrylic paint because even non-toxic products can be hazardous when they mix with dust and other particles in the air.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Breathe?

Whether or not the paint is toxic, it is best to ventilate your workspace. Using less paint and opening a window can limit how much you inhale from acrylics. If you have asthma or any respiratory conditions, consult a doctor before using these paints in your home.

It is always best to be safe around any chemical material. When using acrylic paint, work in a well-ventilated area and do not inhale fumes from the product. In addition, cover your mouth and nose with a mask to avoid breathing in vapors or gases mixed into the paints.

While it is difficult to determine which paints are manufactured with hazardous chemicals, it is better to be safe than sorry. Everyone has different reactions, so you do not want to run the risk of exposing yourself or your family members to any harmful toxins.

Acrylic paint can hurt your health if you ingest it or inhale its vapors. Be sure to handle all paints with care and use a mask if you work with the product for an extended period.

Acrylic paint can produce toxic chemicals when it is manufactured. Companies must list the ingredients on their products, but they may not always use safe or non-toxic substances.

If you want to avoid breathing in acrylic fumes, consider purchasing watercolor paints instead. These paints contain fewer harmful chemicals and are easier to clean up if they spill. Alternatively, you may want to paint in an outdoor area or use less paint if you are working inside.

However, most professional art studios work with acrylic paints, and many artists enjoy using this product for its bright colors. If you are concerned about breathing in fumes or other chemicals, remember that it is possible to minimize your exposure by following safe painting practices.

Finally, paint fumes are more dangerous if mixed with other chemicals. Clean up your work area when you finish painting and remove all art supplies from the room to reduce exposure to harmful vapors.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Dogs?

Painting at home with children is a great way to bond with your offspring. It can also be an inexpensive activity that allows you to create something special for the family.

However, it is important to be aware of the specific materials used in paints before working on any art projects. Some paint ingredients may have negative effects on both children and pets.

It is not known if acrylic paint is toxic to dogs, but it can cause serious health issues for your puppy if he ingests any product that contains harmful chemicals.

If you are using paints in your home, place them away from your dog’s reach to avoid exposure. Call your veterinarian immediately if an accident happens where the pet eats some of the paint. Usually, this issue can be resolved by inducing vomiting in the animal and watching him for signs of pain or distress.

However, further treatment may be necessary to avoid complications and remove harmful chemicals from his system. Please do not try to induce vomiting at home without first speaking with a medical professional.

Finally, acrylic paint is not the only substance that may pose a danger to your dog. Even though oil paint does not contain as many harmful products as acrylics, it still poses a serious health risk if your pet ingests or inhales too many fumes. If you decide to use oil paints for any art projects, be sure to monitor your companion at all times.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Cats?

Cats may be more sensitive to chemicals in certain paint products. If you choose to use acrylic paints in your home, pay attention to any negative effects on your feline friends.

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There have been reports of cats being exposed to acrylic paint fumes at home and becoming sick due to breathing in these vapors. In some cases, it has taken several days for your cats to develop symptoms after exposure, so it is important to monitor them closely.

If you use acrylic paints in your home, avoid breathing in the fumes and ensure that pets cannot access the paint containers or surfaces where these colors are drying. It may be helpful to open windows for ventilation while painting and work in a well-ventilated area.

If possible, paint in a basement or other location where your cat cannot access the art supplies or surfaces. If you create any spills, be sure to clean them up immediately and thoroughly to avoid exposure and illness in your pets.

Finally, suppose your cats display symptoms after working with acrylic paints (such as sleeping a lot, appearing disoriented, or becoming sick). In that case, it may be necessary to seek veterinary care for your cats. Your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting in your pet if he ingests any residual paint.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Other Animals and Birds?

If you have other pets in your household, remember to take precautions when using acrylic paints. Keep pets away from the work area and wash your hands thoroughly before playing or petting them after painting activities.

There is not a lot of research available about acrylic paint toxicity to other animals. Still, it is generally considered safe for birds because they have a higher tolerance for pollutants in the air. If you have a bird as a pet, you can rest assured that acrylic paint use is not likely to cause any health issues.

However, it is best to be cautious when using oil paints around birds because they contain strong chemicals and toxic compounds that most animals do not tolerate well. Make sure to monitor your bird while using oil paints and always clean up spills immediately.

If your bird shows any symptoms of illness after working with oils, seek veterinary care to address the issue. Your veterinarian may need to induce vomiting if your pet ingests paint or fumes from art projects.

Even though acrylic paints are considered safe for most pets, it is always best to take precautions when using these products.

Do not allow your pet to come into contact with fresh paint or surfaces where the paint has dried, and make sure to keep pets away from paints during the drying process.

If you are working with acrylic paints in your home, open windows for ventilation, use a well-ventilated room, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before playing with pets.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Plants?

Acrylic paint is generally not toxic to plants because water’s main ingredient in these products is non-toxic to vegetation. However, acrylic paints may contain other ingredients that are harmful to plants.

If you live in an area where lead poisoning is a concern for humans and animals, be sure to avoid using paints with lead as an ingredient. Other chemicals found in some types of paint can have negative effects on plant growth or cause damage to soil health.

Generally, there is no reason to believe that acrylic paints are dangerous for plants, but some types of paints contain chemicals harmful to soil and vegetation.

Additionally, paint fumes may be toxic to plants, so do not hang wet paintings or allow acrylic paint to dry in an enclosed space where vegetation is growing.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic If Swallowed?

Acrylic paint is toxic if swallowed because it contains chemicals that irritate the digestive system and lungs. The severity of symptoms will depend on which parts of the body were exposed to the paint and how much paint was ingested. Small amounts of acrylic paint usually do not cause symptoms, but ingesting large amounts can cause serious illness or death.

The chemical found in most acrylic paints is methacrylic acid. If ingested, methacrylic acid can cause problems with the digestive system and damage the lungs.

Symptoms of ingesting acrylic paint include cough or trouble breathing, vomiting, stomach pain, chest pain, wheezing, diarrhea.

Additionally, ingestion of paint containing methyl methacrylate may also cause the following symptoms: drowsiness or unconsciousness, confusion, agitation or aggressive behavior convulsions, slow heart rate.

Finally, ingesting paint containing titanium dioxide may also cause the following symptoms: weakness, burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and mouth, rash drowsiness, or unconsciousness.

Treatment for ingesting acrylic paint depends on the symptoms and how much the chemical was ingested. If swallowed, call Poison Control immediately.

Can Acrylic Paint Cause Cancer?

Is acrylic paint carcinogenic? Many myths float around the web on whether or not acrylic paint is carcinogenic. Likewise, there is a lot of information about carcinogens and cancer on the web, but not all are true.

First, let’s define what a carcinogen is. According to the National Cancer Institute, a carcinogen is any substance that can cause cancer. This includes viruses and chemicals such as asbestos and cigarettes. The website also clarifies that not all carcinogens are known, and there may even be a time in the future when something is considered a carcinogen simply by chance.

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Acrylic paint is not a carcinogen by definition. While many people may claim it causes cancer, there are no specific names of chemicals associated with acrylic paint known to cause cancer. This does not mean acrylic paint is safe, though.

The myth that acrylic paint is carcinogenic is believed to have originated when certain types of paint were found to contain small amounts of asbestos. This has nothing to do with acrylic paint or methacrylic acid.

Finally, acrylic paint is not believed to cause cancer by itself, but certain health risks are associated with it. When dry acrylic paint fumes are inhaled, they can irritate the lungs, throat, and eyes. If you plan to use acrylics regularly, be sure to use them in a well-ventilated area where air can circulate freely.

Is Acrylic Paint Bad for the Environment?

Acrylic paint is bad for the environment if it enters waterways or soil. Chemicals used in acrylic paint can cause serious problems when they get into the environment because these chemicals may be toxic to living organisms.

One of the major issues with excess acrylic paint ending up in waterways is that animals can mistake it for food. The chemicals in the paint, including the chemical methacrylic acid, can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life. If marine animals eat enough, they may become ill or even die.

A popular myth is acrylic paint is made from petroleum. At the same time, this sounds like a common-sense assumption (because the oil comes from petroleum, right?) acrylic paint does not contain petroleum.

Acrylic paint does not contain any ingredients made with plastic. The myth that acrylics are petroleum probably stemmed from the chemicals used in the paint are derived from crude oil and natural gas. While it is true that plastics come from crude oil, so do synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester.

Additionally, most acrylic paints are made from pigments that have been deemed safe for use in most products. However, the chemicals still pose a risk to many organisms and may even be carcinogenic.

The best way to ensure that no paint enters waterways is by disposing of your used paint responsibly instead of throwing it away or flushing it down the drain.

Finally, acrylic paints are more likely to be considered environmentally safe than some other paints. This is because acrylic paint is water-based, which means no chemical residue will remain on the painted surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is acrylic paint toxic after drying?

No, acrylic paint is not directly toxic after it’s been dried. However, the chemicals used in these paints can be harmful to live organisms if they enter waterways or soil.

Is acrylic paint safe for kids?

In general, acrylic paint is not recommended for children under three years of age. Many companies make “children-friendly” acrylic paint, but it’s best to be safe than sorry.

Can you make acrylic paint more environmentally friendly?

There are many ways to make acrylics safer for the environment, including using less of the product and choosing paints that contain eco-friendly ingredients. Using watercolors instead of actual acrylic paints, they’re made with all-natural dyes and completely biodegradable.

Do you need to wear a mask when using acrylic paint?

Yes, it’s recommended that people wear a face mask while using acrylic paints because the fumes may irritate your lungs, throat, or eyes. Be sure to use them in well-ventilated areas where air can circulate.

Which paints are toxic?

Oil paints are usually considered more toxic than acrylic, but all paints contain hazardous chemicals. Oil paint is made using wax or oil binder mixed with pigment and solvent, which causes it to dry faster. Solvents in oil paint can irritate the skin, lungs, and respiratory system.

Household gloss enamel paints have many chemicals as regular paints, but since they are in a spray can, you tend to use more of it. The high-pressure fuel used in these sprays is highly flammable, so you should never use it around open flames or smoking.


Acrylic paints are not as dangerous as other forms of paint, but they should still be handled with care. If you have any more questions about the safety of this product, feel free to check out our other articles on the subject or leave a question in the comment section below.

We hope that this article helped you learn more about acrylic paint and cleared up any myths you may have heard. Happy painting!

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