You are here:

Environmental Science/water pollution from artists' acrylic paint


I am an artist and work with many other visual artists. I am trying to educate other artists.

I am using evaporation of the acrylic solids from my brush rinse water, leaving me a lump of plastic, so as not to pour acrylic paint rinse water down the drain.

I am aware of Golden Paints method also of removing the solid with a mixture of garden chemicals.

My question:
If you pour the rinse water from your brushes down the drain when painting with artist's acrylics, do these small molecules of acrylic plastic in solution stay as plastic in the water stream, and then are they absorbed by us and sea life?
Thank you so much. I have not been able to find this answer.

The plastic itself is generally inert. Chemically, once the solvent which carries the pigment, evaporates the paint drys, and becomes inert. There are fine particles of paint which are moved when you clean your brushes, and they do enter the environment, but they are inert, much like very fine particles.  Because of their formulation, they do not have any place for bacteria to attack and degrade the paint particles. So don't worry about it.  Hope that helps.


Environmental Science

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


David L. Russell, PE


I`m a Chemical,Civil and Environmental Engineer and have a number of projects in all phases of the environment. I have worked in the chemical industry and am active in professional societies, and am currently on an industrial wastes committee for the Water Environment Federation, and have taught courses in remediation in the US and abroad. I have written one book on Remediation of petroleum Contaminated Sites, and have a second book on PRACTICAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT to be published by John Wiley in September, 2006. I've also written over 30 articles on various elements of environmental problems and cleanup. Most Recently, I have addressed a NATO Scientific and Techical Conference on Ecoterrorism, and have worked with the same group on remediation of sites contaminated with Chemical Warfare Agent materials and othe materials as well. . I can answer q`s about Chemical and Environmental Engineering, land development, air pollution, water pollution, soil and water cleanup, combustion, international environmental problems, industrial processes chemical processes. Civil and Environmental and Chemical Engineering. Overall, I have over 35 years of experience in this area. Note: I do not answer homework questions


I love work in the third world and developing areas because it is challenging and one can get a sense of accomplishment.

©2016 All rights reserved.