I am a beginner artist, and I have just painted an artwork using Winsor & Newton water Mixable oil color paintings with a brush. Yet I didn’t wear a respirator since I didn’t know about it.

However, for next time do I need to wear a respirator for oil paints, acrylic paint or water paints!? And what type of respirator and filters should I use!?

Other question, is that I want to finish my artwork with a Pebeo spray varnish ( Pebeo satin finish picture varnish) for oil colors. As it mentioned on the label it has a harmful ingredients!

Will the respirator protect me 100% from harmful ingredients! If so, What respirator and filter should I use while using spray varnish on my oil artwork which will protect me from those harmful chemicals and protect my eyes as well if possible!

Please help me to choose the right respirator and filter! And please may I know how often to change the filter and the respirator and how to store it!? Does the respirator or filter has any health risks!

Note: I have used water mixable oil paint to avoid harmful mediums.

If you have any recommendations of less harmful varnish (spray or with a brush) Or if there is other natural mediums products which more safer, I would love to know about and I appreciate your help!

Sorry for the long writing, I know I have mentioned many questions but am a bit scared of harmful chemicals and really make my health in the first priority, I would really appreciate the help of the other artists knowledge and experience in any questions I just asked!

Thank you,,,

  • You need to lookup the MSDS ( SDS) for the product. The safety data sheet must be provided by the manufacturer and it will specify the type of filter required.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 25, 2019 at 15:46
  • Hello Ed, thank you so much for your help! So from the safety data sheet of the painting products will help me to know what type of filter do I need! Thanks again I will try to look up for that! And now wondering which the best respirator. Thank you! =)
    – Miss A
    Nov 26, 2019 at 0:30
  • Since you're worried about harmful ingredients, do keep in mind artists' paints are exempt from the anti-lead rules. They can and do contain lead, chromium, and other nasty customers. The reason is toxic mineral pigments last a lot longer than organic pigments, and nobody wants to see a 300 year old painting fade. Nov 26, 2019 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


I have several different types , it depends on the job, the longer the job the better quality you want. I use for example painting a meat locker with an alcohol based paint I was expecting 6 hours so I paid more for a brand that had a lower resistance (work of breathing) that took all the nastys out. And similar with high VOC paints, their are times we need the really nasty paints (I say nasty because what they do to the body until cured). I am a big guy so I need a large frame mask, for a high quality mask there is really not a one size fits all. on my best mask I was professionally fit for size , they break a vile containing banana oil? I think it was because we can detect it at small amounts and found I needed a large even though I thought a medium fit well. You probably won’t need an air supplied version but I know a couple of people that work with toxic gasses that use fresh air pumps because it ends up being cheaper than regularly replacing filters, many filters expire x hours after they are opened, some allow for a total exposure time. So these things need to be considered in your choice also but start with the paint name and MFG SDS then make your decision based on that. I added the additional information on size because I thought I was a medium until being professionally fit , a quick test is to seal the cartridge hole and breathe in then hold your breath and see if the mask leaks air and expands it is not comfortable to do this but it was one of the quick checks before using the banana oil. I hope this helps.

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