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Old 01-04-2012, 07:29 PM   #1
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


It's probably a newbee question. But where do you wash your paint brush? I just realized that my contractor has been washing their paint brushes in my backyard. I have a veggie garden about 15 ft from the dumping site. How toxic is paint waste? Most of it are latex interior water-based paints. Some are stucco paint.

Thanks!

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:36 PM   #2
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


If it's just been their brushes and not much more, you should be fine. I wouldn't recommend it continuing.

At least in the drain it is going to a treatment plant and is removed from the water table. Dumping it in the ground is never a good idea.

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:39 PM   #3
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


Latex paint contains mostly water, it is water soluble and will be diluted even more while the brushes etc are being cleaned. It is not hazardous and not really toxic. The only real problem with latex paint is, fumes, VOCS, Volitle organic compounds, but as for washing brushes in the yard there should not be a problem.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:58 PM   #4
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


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Originally Posted by housepaintingny View Post
Latex paint contains mostly water, it is water soluble and will be diluted even more while the brushes etc are being cleaned. It is not hazardous and not really toxic. The only real problem with latex paint is, fumes, VOCS, Volitle organic compounds, but as for washing brushes in the yard there should not be a problem.

say what?

Dude- you do need to do a little research into what goes into paint.
Some " waterbornes" actually contain no water... but can be reduced by water..

Pick a can- any can... read the ingredients. Then look at what you wrote.
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Last edited by Brushjockey; 01-04-2012 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:01 PM   #5
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


I use Aura low VOC as a desert topping.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:04 PM   #6
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


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say what?

Dude- you do need to do a little research into what goes into paint.
Some " waterbornes" actually contain no water... but can be reduced by water..

Pick a can- any can... read the ingredients. Then look at what you wrote.
Funny thing is he is an "EPA Certified Firm". Anyone from the EPA want to chime in?
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:05 PM   #7
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


Who , me? I am, and I know that there is more than water in latex paint....

But I don't know if I want to go to Joes house for desert...
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:18 AM   #8
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


[quote=Brushjockey;812862]Who , me? I am, and I know that there is more than water in latex paint....

But I don't know if I want to go to Joes house for desert...[/quote]


me either
maybe he had a few jack and cokes before that comment
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:29 AM   #9
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


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Originally Posted by htabbas View Post
It's probably a newbee question. But where do you wash your paint brush? I just realized that my contractor has been washing their paint brushes in my backyard. I have a veggie garden about 15 ft from the dumping site. How toxic is paint waste? Most of it are latex interior water-based paints. Some are stucco paint.

Thanks!
Hiya ht...

I gotta lot to add here, but first - You need to hire a new contractor. You've got to wonder what other unprofessional practices he's employed here if he's doing something as flagrant as cleaning equipment in your back yard. Let it be known, there is not one manufacturer or government agency, in this nation, that'd condone this type of activity.

That said, if he was only cleaning brushes and rollers from using latex paints, there will be no problems. The fact that you said "most" of it was latex causes some concerns though. If latex, Rob1975 and housepaintingny (hpn) are right, no harm done to your garden, lawn or environment...

HPN wasn't completely wrong in his remarks. He did preface those remarks in regards to latex...and the truth is, latex paints are mostly water. And, as far as the toxicity of latex paints, they're pretty low on the scale. The most harmful of elements in latex coatings are, as hpn said, those solvents (VOC's) that flash off anyway...even if this guy was cleaning out a fully loaded brush and cover, there'd only be about 2-3 teaspoons of toxic solvent before it would be diluted 1000X with the water used to clean with. Keeping things in proper perspective, one often spills that much (2-3 teaspoons) of gasoline (un-diluted) onto the lawn when filling the lawnmower. Another perspective to consider regarding the toxicity of latex paints is, while not advisable, it's legal to flush latex paints down the ol' crapper (in moderation, of course).

BrushJockey - I've been in this god-forsaken business a long time - and I'm pretty familiar with the composition of paint - but what waterborne paint doesn't contain water? The very definition of a waterborne product is that the resin is "borne" in water...and that water is part of the vehicle that keeps the solid portions of a coating in suspension. I am familiar with some solvent borne products that clean up with water (none that I can think of that reduces with water though).

OK, back to htabbas, in answer to your question - don't worry, I doubt seriously if this quack dumped enough toxic element into your yard to even kill the grass, let alone migrate 15' to your garden and have any effect. BUT, even though the practice is relatively harmless, it's not the best, nor most responsible way of cleaning tools.

Last edited by ric knows paint; 01-05-2012 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:53 AM   #10
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
say what?

Dude- you do need to do a little research into what goes into paint.
Some " waterbornes" actually contain no water... but can be reduced by water..

Pick a can- any can... read the ingredients. Then look at what you wrote.
Dude- perhaps you should read a can. Any can...
I am very well aware what latex paint is made of. There are only a few parts. Water is one part. Latex dries through evaporation. Yes, it can be reduced with water, usually no more than 10%, because there is already water in it. What I'm saying is that, latex is not hazardous and washing some brushes out in a yard will not harm vegetation, as the paint contains some water already and is further diluted through washing the brushes.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:18 AM   #11
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


Quote:
Originally Posted by htabbas View Post
It's probably a newbee question. But where do you wash your paint brush? I just realized that my contractor has been washing their paint brushes in my backyard. I have a veggie garden about 15 ft from the dumping site. How toxic is paint waste? Most of it are latex interior water-based paints. Some are stucco paint.

Thanks!
Lots of opinions here, obviously. Personally I can't imagine that you're going to have a problem. Soil is an amazing purifier.

On the other hand, you might want to consider having your soil tested. There are a lot of ways to do that -everything from DIY to high-end professional.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:56 PM   #12
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


Ok Ric, I haven't walked into the workroom to read a can, any can- but let me throw a couple that i think are suspect in low water- high resin and other assorted weirdness-
Gardz.
Zar Ultramax
( ok - these aren't latex PAINTs, but they are waterborne finishes or primers..)
hmm...
What are acrylic resins? water? When a paint has high solid contents- is that like 5% ?
When I have had some very old paint cans totally dry out to the point that it is just a lump of hard stuff and even pulled away from the sides of the can- I would say in volume there is 1/2-2/3 the total volume left. And non of that is water.

And the subject of cleaning equipment came up a bit ago in a different thread- I think it was about what was safe for a septic system- and I was amazed at the amount of professional painters that regularly clean out in the yard with a hose.
Maybe its because i'm from an urban area and I would fire myself if i turned the lawn white, but it seems like a pretty un-pro practice.
But the health issue is different than the professionalism.
I stand aside for the more chemically inclined!
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:26 PM   #13
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


Look at the MSDS for Zar Ultramax. http://www.ugl.com/zarWoodFinishing/...arUltraMax.php
It is 60% water by volume. 30% is the acrylic resin and the remaining 10% are the various dryers, binders, extenders and whatever else is needed to make the paint work.

This EDS from Sherwin Williams
http://www.sherwin-williams.com/docu.../035777440223/
indicates that just 1.7% by volume of a can of water borne Duration is made up of volatile organics.

My personal thought is that it is not a big deal to clean brushes on lawns. I would rather let the ground do the filtering than use up capacity at the treatment center. 15 feet from the veggie garden though... I might be ok with that, but certainly no closer, and certainly not more than a a couple of times.

People routinely dump herbicides, pesticides, and petrochemical fertilizers on their lawns and in their gardens, many of which are extremely toxic to humans, and hardly anyone thinks twice about that.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:13 PM   #14
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


[quote=chrisn;812964]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
Who , me? I am, and I know that there is more than water in latex paint....

But I don't know if I want to go to Joes house for desert...[/quote]


me either
maybe he had a few jack and cokes before that comment
No. No drunk posting here. And, if you see me with Jack and coke in hand, shoot me. I was obviously playing off some things here. The old heads will remember Saturday Night Live skits of yore. The floor polish that doubles as a desert topping. Secondly, I was playing into what I perceive as the misguided perpception that in the absence of VOC's, paint is now "safe". I hardly think so.
I don't think that because a substance is not organic that it can be harmful to living organisms, especially with the power of today's chemistry. I'm not saying that OP's garden will start glowing or that anything will ever come of it even. I've only cleaned a brush outside once or twice and honestly never felt good about it. Proof that even a supposed hard hearted conservative can respect the environment. But, haven't we learned from past history that things that seem relatively benign, or so were told, turn out to do damage in the long run. How do we really know?
I say if we wouldn't ingest it, we don't dump in on the ground. (Disclaimer: I have put things in the ground that I wouldn't ingest. But, I don't like it and don't make a habit of it. I'm a hypocrite, but I don't condone it.) I think the general gist that a person could get from this thread is that though it's not good practice, or professional, it's okay and won't hurt anything. I can't say that's true without a doubt, can you? I doubt the earthworms drowning in that milky chemical cocktail would agree with you.
My question to OP would be, when you saw them doing that, why didn't you offer them a sink to clean equipment in? At least that has a known and dedicated destination where it will be treated.

Last edited by jsheridan; 01-05-2012 at 07:15 PM. Reason: To paragraph per Brushjockey's order
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:18 PM   #15
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How toxic is paint in the soil? (I have a vegegarden)


will you be alright if your painting contractor cleans his equipment on your lawn? yea probably. but you know what ,i really don't know . one thing i do know is i would not do it, and i don't think its professional ,a friend of mine who is also a painting contractor does all the time . i just look at him and shake my head and roll my eyes.

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