Paint, Oil-Based/Stain/Spray

Common hazardous ingredients

Alkyl resin, kerosene, lead, lithopone, mercury, methylene choride, methyl ethyl ketone, mineral spirits, toluene, trichoroethane, xylene.

Look for these key words on paint labels to help determine if the paint is oil-based or water-based:

water-based: “clean up with soap and water,” “latex”
oil-based: “clean up with mineral spirits,” “contains petroleum distillates,” “combustible: keep away from heat and flame,” “harmful or fatal if swallowed”

Potential hazards

Flammable; toxic;
Irritant to skin, eyes and lungs.
Air pollutant.
Toxic fumes can accumulate in closed spaces and areas with poor ventilation.
Methylene chloride is a suspected carcinogen.


Determine the amount of paint or finish you need for the job and buy only that amount.
Work in a well-ventilated area away from flames or sparks.
Wear nitrile gloves.
Apply paints by brush or roller rather than by spraying.


Store in a secure area away from children, pets or heat sources.


Best: Use up completely if the product does not contain lead (manufactured after 1978). Air dry empty containers in a secure, well-ventilated area and dispose of in the garbage with the lids off.
Second best: Give leftover, non-lead paint or finish to someone who can use it, such as a theater group, signmaker, commercial painter or nonprofit group.
Third best: Take to a hazardous waste facility or collection event.


Choose latex water-based paints or finishes that have no or low solvent content.
Latex paints or finishes contain fewer flammable and toxic solvents than oil-based products.

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