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Safety issues?

Hey! I've always struggled with the heaviness felt in my lungs after painting with oil + walnut oil.

Does anyone have any tips? Should I wear a respirator? It's winter here so I can't really keep the window open for too long!
I think I may have damaged my lungs a while back when I used to do lost wax castings with silica based plaster dust (I wore a respirator, but who knows!)

Does anyone have experience with this same problem?


  • @Gelatiniousdream   ...Painted last winter in my basement without ventilation and hurt myself. My lung capacity is not quite as good anymore. If it feels like somethings going on with your lungs, its probably a good idea to stop. Its not worth it till you sort it out.
    As for Walnut oil, its possible to be allergic to it. FWIW, i cant eat cookies my wife makes with fresh walnuts unless she preroasts them first, or if the cookies sit for two days. Something to do with an enzyme in the nut that it uses to protect itself. Some other people have problems even with the oil paints themselves.
     I switched to water miscible oil paint, and installed a bathroom exhaust fan in my basement area. It has helped. Hope this helps.
  • GelatinousDream

    You need to arrange a flow through ventilation system.
    Any electrician can install these low cost appliances - select quiet running models.
    Box fans can be installed in floors, walls, ceilings or windows.



  • Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
    edited December 2015
    What other materials are you using? Walnut oil is simply a nut oil and should not be a problem.
    [Deleted User]GelatinousDream
  • "Drying oils" like the kind used in oil paint (such as linseed/flax, walnut, poppy, and safflower) do not produce fumes, so it must be something else in the paint or in your studio/workflow that is bothering your lungs.
  • May sound silly, but, have you checked with your Doctor?
  • May sound silly as well but I had a problem with breathing for a couple of months... thought it might be the solvents but I found out that I was so deeply concentrated on the process of painting, that I did not move for longer periods and started to breath only in a very superficial way... ended up with a headache... and somehow not enough oxygen for my brain...   no permanent damage (I think...) ;) ...
    [Deleted User]
  • @EstherH Easy there, it's not an endurance sport!
  • SummerSummer -
    edited December 2015
    @EstherH ; You are the first person I have ever heard of that could paint an entire painting while holding their breath.  Wait a minute.  Did I read that right?  LOL  Summer
  • Exercising and eating healthy is a good way to improve respiratory problems. I had bronchitis when I was younger, and after starting to work out, it almost disappeared entirely. 

    However, good ventilation is also a good idea.
  • So did you get checked out?
  • Ron said:
    So did you get checked out?
    Hey Ron!
    Sorry for the inactivity. I haven't painted in oils for a while until recently. I have gotten my lungs checked out and the doctor said he doesn't see anything. I gotta say that I haven't had any problemsgoing back into oil painting and I've been oil painting for hours on end! I think I may have just aggravated my lungs breathing in some sort of chemical. I remember that at the time I thought that I needed to use solvents like turp. to wash off my brushes. Gross.
    I only use walnut oil now. For cleaning, for glazing, for everything. So much easier and less smelly!!
    <3 Thanks for your concern!
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