How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy Spray Paint

How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy Spray Paint?

Purchasing spray paint is prohibited for anyone under the age of 18. Spray paint comes in different varieties of colors, is easy to use, and allows you to do everything from spiffing up old lawn furniture to creating works of art. But spray paint is also the main tool for those who deface property with graffiti. Aso, it is very hazardous for human health. People also inhale paint fumes to get high. This habit can cause brain damage and even death.

The states have passed laws regulating the sale of spray paint in an effort to cut down on spray paint abuse and graffiti. Each state is capable enough to establish its laws regarding spray paint sales, there are no national laws. California prohibits anyone from selling or giving a spray paint container of more than six ounces capable of defacing property to someone less than 18 years old. Minors are prohibited from buying such spray paint.

At What Age Can You Buy Spray Paints?

It is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to buy spray paint to deface property while on any public highway, street, or other public places.  There are several chemicals in the aerosol products (spray paint) that can give you a heart attack, respiratory failure along with kidney and liver failures. It also damages the brain cells.

You Must Be 18 Years Old To Buy Spray Paint

Nobody other than a legal guardian or a parent shall trade, exchange, sell, loan, or otherwise furnish or allow to be given or exchanged any graffiti implemented to any person under the age of eighteen years. 

Proof that a person or his/her employee was shown acceptable evidence of majority and acted upon such evidence in a transaction or sale shall be a defense to any prosecution under this section.

Acceptable evidence of majority shall include, but is not limited to, driver’s license, state-issued identification, or military identification. This section does not apply to the transfer of graffiti implements from parent to child, guardian to ward, employer to employee, teacher to student, or in any other similar relationship when such transfer is for a lawful purpose.

Why Inhaling Spray Paint Is Dangerous

Inhaling spray paint can lead to health problems. Either you inhale it while using it or through passive inhaling. There are multiple side effects once the fumes are inhaled.

  • Short-term side effects may include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea.
  • Long-term side effects may be as hazardous as damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Some organics are even suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. 

Spray paints contain VOCs ( Volatile Organic Compounds), meant for professional use only. When certain spray paints and other similar products are used, VOCs are emitted as gases. This contains a lot of chemicals that may have damaging health issues, depending on your level of competence and protection. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctiva irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness etc.

It is not only spray-paint that contains VOCs either! Paint strippers, certain adhesives, and other types of paint contain these compounds too. Ingredients that are used in spray paints are Acetone, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Xylene, n-Butyl Acetate, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Propylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, Magnesium Silicate, Carbon Black, Ethylbenzene. Common VOCs found in most spray paints include Acetone, Xylene, and Toluene. The below chart outlines exposure limits, symptoms, and organs affected by these VOCs.

Spray Paint Exposure Reduction Methods

Always Read Warning Labels 

  • Painting Conditions: Use outdoors or in a well-ventilated area such as an open garage. Use when the temperature is between 50°F (10°C) and 90°F (32°C) and humidity is below 85% to ensure proper drying. Do not apply to surfaces that, when heated, exceed 200°F (93°C) or galvanized metal. Avoid spraying in very windy, dusty conditions. The cover surrounding area to protect from spray mist.
  • Preparation: Remove loose paint and rust with a wire brush or sandpaper. Lightly sand glossy surfaces. Clean with soap and water, rinse and let dry. WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. 
  • Contains TOLUENE, XYLENE, AND ACETONE. Vapor harmful. May affect the brain or nervous system causing dizziness, headache, or nausea. Causes eye, skin, nose, and throat irritation. Do not puncture strike or incinerate (burn) container. Exposure to heat or prolonged exposure to the sun may cause bursting. Do not expose to heat or store at temperatures above 120°F (48°C).
  • Notice: Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents may be harmful or fatal. Vapors may ignite explosively. Keep away from heat, sparks, and flame. Do not smoke. Extinguish all flames and pilot lights and turn off stoves, heaters, electric motors, and other sources of ignition during use and until all vapors are gone. Prevent the build-up of vapors by opening all windows and doors to achieve cross-ventilation. Use only with adequate ventilation. Do not breathe dust, vapors, or spray mist. Ensure fresh air entry during application and drying. If you experience eye watering, headache or dizziness, wear respiratory protection (NIOSH approved) or leave the area. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing.
  • Warning:  This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

Use Appropriate Spray Enclosures And Fume Extractors When Working

When choosing the most appropriate system, items to consider include ductless or ducted ventilation, filter requirements, workspace size, and amount of air volume needed.


If spray paint is used incorrectly, it can cause several problems and potentially become hazardous. Spray paint aerosols are classed as one of the most hazardous aerosols available to anyone. So be careful while using spray paints, we want you to be as safe as possible while enjoying spraying.

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