What Happens If You Eat Acrylic Paint? Is It Toxic?

You are a fan of the acrylic paint brand and find it a fun experience to work with. But wait, have you ever thought about what happens if you eat acrylic paint? Because accidents can happen. 

Well, acrylic paint is toxic-free for painting but unsafe for eating because it contains dangerous heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel, chromium, etc. So, if someone consumes it, seek medical help. Also, check out the warning label on the cane before purchasing the paint. 

In this blog post, I will discuss the type of ingredients in acrylic paint and their impact on human health. I will also explain the potential health problems that occur when some ingest the paint and how to treat it. Further, you will get an idea about safety measures to prevent ingestion. 

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic?

Water-based acrylic paints are not toxic. 

Acrylic paint is typically safe and harmless to use; however, it should not be eaten. Because just because they are non-toxic does not mean they are free of toxic chemicals. It indicates that the compounds are safe. 

However, water is used as a solution in acrylic paint that lowers the intensity of heavy metals or additives. But before purchasing the paint, you must check out the warning label on the cane. 

If someone unintentionally consumes the paint, it can have negative health impacts depending on how long they take it. For example, long-term exposure to paint that contains cadmium affects the kidney and lowers the intensity of bone. 

So, take care of yourself and your children when you are dealing with the paint. 

Ingredient Toxicity in Acrylic Paint 

Acrylic paint is made up of 4 components:

  1. Binding agent (acrylic polymer)
  2. Additives
  3. Pigments
  4. Water or other solution 

Acrylic polymer is a synthesized plastic that contains numerous heavy metals. So, ingesting the paint is hazardous to health. Different heavy metals behave differently; some are dangerous to one’s health, while others are not. 

The pigment contains organic or carcinogenic heavy metals. Look at the table to know which heavy metals are toxic and which are not. 

Heavy metalsToxicity
CobaltSkin and breathing problems 
Zinc Nausea, muscular pain
CopperDetrimental only when inhaled
Mercury If it accumulates in the body, it acts as a carcinogenic agent
Propylene glycolIf accumulate in the body, it acts as a carcinogenic agent
Nickel Cause cancer 
Arsenic If it accumulate in the body, it acts as a carcinogenic agent
Cadmium If inhaled, it causes cancer. Also, affect on kidney and bones
Chromium Cause lungs disease both in animals and humans
Carbon Black Carcinogenic 
Manganese Destroy the central nervous system

Common Problems of Ingesting Acrylic Paint

If ingested in moderation, acrylic paint is usually not hazardous. However, excessive paint use can have negative consequences. Here are some typical problems that appear after consuming acrylic paint: 

  1. Respiratory Issue:

Accidental inhalation of acrylic paint mainly causes breathing problems. Some paints contain noxious fumes that will make breathing difficult, especially when you are in a poorly ventilated area.  

  1. Gastrointestinal problems:

When you ingest acrylic paint, your immune system reacts to the chemicals present in the paint.  This response disturbs your gastrointestinal system which would result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

  1. Cause Cancer:

Some pigments in paint act as carcinogenic agents. So, ingestion of acrylic paint in huge amounts causes cancer.

  1. Allergic Reactions: 

Some individuals are allergic to the components or additives in acrylic paint. This causes allergic reactions such as itching and swelling. 

  1. Nervous System Damage:

Some pigments in acrylic paint, if ingested for a long time, would damage the nervous system. 

Acrylic Paint Poisoning Symptoms

If you or your children ingest acrylic paint, the following symptoms can occur.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Itchiness
  • Nose, throat, and skin irritation
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Long-term exposure results in the accumulation of heavy metals that can damage the nervous system

Don’t panic if symptoms appear in you or the child after ingesting the paint. Just take the appropriate actions described below. You may also learn if acrylic paint is safe for babies’ hands or footprints.

What To Do If Acrylic Paint Is Ingested?

Here are the following steps to follow if someone eats or drinks acrylic paint. 

  • Don’t overreact! Keep yourself and the affected person calm.
  • Wash your mouth immediately and ask the person to drink 2 to 3 glasses of water. 
  • If severe symptoms appear, seek medical help immediately.
  • You can also contact your poison control center to guide you on what steps should be taken. 

All these steps will help you in removing or minimizing the impact of acrylic paint. For further protection, take all the precautionary measures and keep your children away from the paint.   

Safety Measures To Prevent Ingestion Of Acrylic Paint

Here are safety measures and precautions that you must take when dealing with the paint

  1. When purchasing acrylic paint, read the warning label on it to check whether it is toxic or not
  2. If you are buying paint for your children, don’t purchase acrylic paint for them. Instead of this, there are numerous brands that are specially designed for children. 
  3. Work in a separate area that is safe and away from places where food and drinks are consumed. 
  4. Be attentive when you are dealing with acrylic paint. Do not eat or drink anything during the job. Also, avoid smoking because many heavy metals enter your body through ingestion.
  5. Don’t forget to wear a mask and gloves to avoid exposure to paint with skin and inhalation. 
  6. When you are done with the painting job, wash your hands properly with soap.
  7. Tight the cover of the acrylic paint cane after using it and keep it away from children’s or pet reach.
  8. If the paint can is empty, dispose of it properly. Don’t transfer any edible items in it. 

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Skin?

The usage of acrylic paint on the skin is usually not recommended. However, if you want to use it on your face or other part of your skin, certain safety protocols are crucial.


Is 100% acrylic paint toxic?

Acrylic paint is non-toxic for use but not safe to eat. The paint contains heavy metals that, if contacted, inhaled, or ingested, would negatively impact human health. 

Is drinking acrylic paint bad?

Water-based acrylic paint is non-toxic, but you should avoid drinking it. Because if someone accidentally drinks it, their stomach will disturb and cause vomiting.

Is burning acrylic paint toxic?

Yes, burning paint releases toxic fumes into the environment that are harmful to both animals and humans. 

Is acrylic paint toxic to babies and kids?

Yes, acrylic paint is more toxic to kids and babies. Pregnant people and the elderly may also experience a loss of smell. These circumstances make individuals more vulnerable to the health concerns posed by fumes.

Final Words

Now you know what happens if you eat acrylic paint. Generally, acrylic paint is water-based that is safe to use, but still, it contains some pigments that, if ingested or inhaled, can cause adverse health problems. And if you accidentally consumed it, wash your mouth and seek medical help immediately if severe symptoms appear. 

So, it is advised to follow the precautionary measures when you deal with the paint. Further, if your children are interested in painting, let them do it under your supervision unless they mature. 

Protect yourself and your loved ones!

Jose Scott

Leave a Comment