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Toxic Paints That Went Peeling Down In History

Did you know that your neighborhood might be harmful to your health in some unexpected ways? One such danger is pigments used in paints and coatings that can peel and flake off over time.

In this blog post, Noble Painting looks at toxic paints – and explores how they went from widespread use to being relegated to the history books. So read on for an eye-opening look at some of the most hazardous paints ever made!

Lead White:

For hundreds of years, lead white has been one of the most frequently used pigments in paints and coatings. Today, it can still be traced in many older homes because it was so abundantly employed. But what many people don’t know is that lead white is quite toxic.

When the pigment flakes off walls and other surfaces, it can be inhaled or ingested, leading to serious health problems, including brain damage, kidney damage, and even death.

This toxic material is known to brighten the colors of other pigments, which is why it was used so often in the past. But now that we know the dangers of lead exposure, there are much safer alternatives available.

Arsenic Paint:

Chemists and paint manufacturers introduced arsenic to various colors to generate exciting new hues, such as canary yellow. However, despite its vivid and attention-grabbing appearance, it didn’t take long for people to realize that this fresh paint was quite dangerous.

If you’re wondering, the color green was one of the most popular shades to be made with arsenic. Unfortunately, many people who worked with this paint developed severe health problems, including cancer.

Cadmium Paint:

Adding a new color to the “extremely hazardous” category has enraged artists. In 1817, a German chemist discovered cadmium, and as a paint component, it soon became as prized as it was rare. It improves the color palette by adding a deeper hue to jewel tones and making them more vivid and intense.

Cadmium red is considered the most refined red hue available. However, when Sweden made a worldwide complaint that artists washing their Cadmium-stained brushes was polluting the water supply, the pigment was subject to – and continues to face – a European prohibition.

Chromium Paint:

The most common form of chromium, trivalent chromium (Cr(III)), is a corrosive metal that can cause severe health problems and even death in humans. Chromium compounds create paints and primers for corrosion protection and gloss.

Compounds containing various oxidation states of chromium produce three distinct hues: +2 (blue), +3 (green), and +6 (orange). Painting your interiors with this stuff would have been a terrible idea, as the fumes released by the paint are highly toxic.


If you’re looking to paint your home or office, it’s essential to avoid these toxic paints that have caused problems in the past.

However, if you’re looking for a professional painting company that can help you choose the perfect color and give you a free estimate, look no further than Noble Painting serving Fort Collins. We’ll make sure your space looks great with our interior residential painting services and is safe for everyone involved.