Everything we do leaves an impact on the environment, and we are often unaware of how we are ruining the future of our wonderful life on this beautiful planet. We all need to know that protecting the environment is no longer an option but an obligation at this stage.
Hence, it is vital to gain more knowledge about our footprint on the planet in the very first place. Not only should we take conscious actions towards making improvements by conducting more balanced life cycle analyses but also putting more effort into understanding the tread-offs of our systems.
Raising awareness around environmental issues will result in new actions and policies, minimizing the threat to human health and our planet. Apart from all the known emissions from existing infrastructures, there are many other environmental pollutants that we are not well aware of. For instance, paints and coatings are widely used everywhere in our lives, and not all of us are acquainted with their potential danger to health and the environment.
Therefore, through the upcoming series of blog posts, we aim to highlight the main paint and coatings’ key features and hidden environmental threats.
Dangerous byproducts of industrial paint
To produce each of these components, various chemical substances are used. During the process, some byproduct waste and pollutants can also be released, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulates matter (PM), oil and resins, waste paint, waste solvents and wastewater .
VOCs derived from solvents belong to a particular class of hazardous air pollutants. These chemical species have raised environmental concerns for two main reasons: human health issues due to toxicity and ozone formation through photochemical reactions with nitrogen oxides. We evidently know that exposure to VOCs can cause both acute and chronic illnesses.
In the following table, you can find a list of these side effects that common solvents such as xylene, toluene and TDI have on the human body. Most of these data have been obtained from occupational studies or from research studies conducted on animals. However, these health effects still need further research and examination, especially in terms of low-level or intermittent VOCs exposures .
Ghobad Bagheri is the lead research engineer for the Qlayers, Collaborative consultant for Yummet, and Recognised researcher in combustion. Ghobad received a double PhD in Chemical and Aero-Thermo Mechanical engineering in a project funded by the European Commission through Horizon 2020 program, Marie Curie Action, "CLEAN-Gas".
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