Chances are if you’re crafting with kiddos or wanting to transform your furniture after watching by a DIY video, your supply list is going to include acrylic paints.
However, you may be wondering if acrylics paints are non-toxic and which brands are the best. We are covering all of your burning questions today!
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Is Acrylic Paint Non-Toxic?
So let’s get down to the bottom of this: is acrylic paint non-toxic? Well, for the most part, yes it is and it’s usually labeled as such. Acrylic paints are water-based and unlikely to harm you harmless when you’re using it properlyed for typical acrylic painting purposes.
However, acrylic colors can contain certain toxic chemicals, but the paint will usually be marked with a label identifying them. Since acrylic paints are water-based they’re also easy to clean up without using any toxic chemicals.
Toxins & Ingredients in Acrylic Paint
The ingredients in acrylic paint are pretty straightforward and can be narrowed down to 3 main ones: pigments, binders, and vehicles.
Pigments give paint its color and can be organic, inorganic, natural, or synthetic. A binder keeps the pigment in place once the paint dries while the vehicle carries the pigment and binder.
The most common toxic chemicals you’ll find in acrylic paint are heavy metals including cadmium, cobalt, manganese, chromium, and lead. In the acrylic form these chemicals are pretty much harmless, but when they’re airbrushed or ingested, they can become toxic. This is because they can be more easily ingested through these methods of painting.
Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Kids and Babies?
Acrylic paints are often labeled non-toxic, but we do not recommend letting children and babies use them (especially if you’re unable to supervise them). While your child is most likely safe getting acrylic paint on their hands and skin, children often put their hands in their mouth and around their face without thinking about it.
Ingesting acrylic paints could harm your child. For the most part, ingesting a very small amount by accident won’t lead to anything serious, but you should always contact poison control if you know they swallowed paint
There are not any acrylic paints that are 100% “non-toxic” due to the heavy metals in the pigments.
If you’re looking for paint to use for projects with your kids, there are better alternatives to acrylic paint. Check out this article for some safer, non-toxic paints for kids.
That being said, there are some brands that bear the AP certification which is a seal of the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI). Acrylic paints that carry this seal may have some toxins (heavy metals) but not in sufficient quantities to lead to health problems.
Safety Tips for Using Acrylic Paint
- Only use acrylic paints that are labeled non-toxic
- Check your acrylic paint for harmful ingredients before buying it
- Keep acrylic paint out of your child’s reach
- If you’re using acrylic paint with your children, be sure to keep an eye on them at all times
- Wash your hands immediately after painting
How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Skin
Removing acrylic paint from your skin is simple and starts with soap and water. Scrub the painted skin with soapy water and a washcloth, then add baby oil or rubbing alcohol if necessary. Use friction to gently scrub off the paint while being as least damaging to your skin as possible.
What if Acrylic Paint is Swallowed?
Acrylic paint swallowed in a very small amount usually won’t cause any harm, but avoiding any ingestion altogether is always best.
If you swallow or inhale acrylic paint in large amounts it could lead to serious health problems. Contacting medical professionals and poison control is the best thing to do if this happens.
Other Paint Options for Kids Projects
There are tons of great alternatives to acrylic paints that aren’t toxic and still super fun to use. Some of these include washable tempera paints, finger paints, activity paints, and liquid watercolors. These paints are versatile enough for a range of projects and your child will love getting creative with them. If you are wondering which of these are the best, we have created a resource for the best and safest non-toxic paint for kids!
Non-Toxic Acrylic Paint for Craft Projects & Furniture
Arteza Acrylic Premium Artist Paint
This paint set includes 60 different colors in squeezable tubes along with a nice carrying case. Perfect for beginners or seasoned artists that create on canvases. These Arteza paints have the AP Certified Non-Toxic seal and are fade resistant.
Speedball Acrylic Paint
Their professional paints are not only AP certified but are cobalt and cadmium-free. Speedball paints come in a ton of colors, are made in the U.S., and are acid-free! They also have a line of paint for screen printing and can be found in most local craft stores.
Folk Art Acrylic Paint
Folk Art paints come in the small squeeze bottles you are used to seeing on craft aisles. They are created by the PLAID company, all of which are AP certified. Their color options are endless and can be used on a variety of different materials.
How to Properly Dispose of Acrylic Paint
When disposing of acrylic paint don’t pour it down the sink or put it into the trash. It can end up in waterways and cause clogged pipes once it hardens. The best method of disposal is letting it dry until it’s completely hard in a well-ventilated area. From there, you can then take the solid paint out of the container and throw it away in the trash.
When it comes to paints and art supplies the term non-toxic is regulated very loosely, so more investigation is needed on your part. While we have determined that there are still toxic chemicals even in acrylic paints that are labeled non-toxic don’t forget that we have also given you a variety of other paints to choose from!