Painters are exposed to a wide range of substances including solvents, additives and pigments as well as materials containing asbestos and silica through their work in and on buildings. There are potentially large numbers of workers exposed, many in small businesses including those involved in vehicle spray painting and paint manufacture. Data from the cancer burden study shows that the number of deaths amongst painters from lung and bladder cancer is around 334 each year.
There is insufficient information available to identify which particular agents cause the reported cancers. Painters are exposed to a wide range of substances including solvents, additives and pigments as well as materials containing asbestos and silica through their work in and on buildings. Paint technology has changed over the last 20 years with a move to water based paints, micro-encapsulation of pigments and use of new thinners. Also, restrictions have also been introduced on putting hazardous materials on the market relating to dyes and pigments via the Marketing and Use Directive and more recently REACH regulation.
Initiatives providing advice and information on health issues for painters include:
- Raising awareness at the Painters and Decorators show.
- Articles in trade magazines.
- Research on the exposure of painters to hazardous substances and changes in application technology within the construction industry.
Further information is available by registering on the Occupational Diseases Community site.
Further information on health risks for painters is available on HSE's construction pages.