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Old 10-19-2010, 03:42 PM   #1
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Default Loss of Smell and Taste (Anosmia) From Painting

HI:

I just joined this forum and am happy to have found it.

I have been painting since I was 15 years old, and am now 45. I probably have 15 total accumulated years of experience.

Over the years I have tried and done other things for a living, but it seems that now I am going to be painting until the end of my working days at least.

I have worked for at least 5 different Painting Contractors in the NY area over the years. I have also been on my own.

I have a complete loss of smell and taste (Anosmia) and am wondering if any other House painters have similar problems.

Also Asthma, but that is a different subject.

I have started a blog, which is an offshoot of my blogging on other topics
The address is here: http://esquirepainting.blogspot.com/
I have had sinus surgery twice, which is a thrilling experience to say the least.

Anwway I have raised the question of loss of smell and taste among painters on another Forum dealing with Anosmia.

God knows I've inhaled enough chemicals and dust over the years, but still I have talked to a lot of other painters that don't seem to have my problems. But not too many painters that have been doing it as long as I have.

Thanks. It's a Painters life.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:20 PM   #2
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I have quite a good sense of smell, 27 yrs in trade.

Tho' I do have a Plumber friend who lost his sense of smell due to the flux fumes. (That is of no help at all I know)
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:51 PM   #3
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Many years ago, I lost my sense of smell and I thought it was due to a cold. It was gone for a few months and came back. Maybe it was fumes. It still is not as acute as it once was (but hell, at 61 what sense is still acute)

I actually kind of enjoyed not smelling many things. Rotten food, that dead mouse in the wall, and many perfumes.

And it's oft been said that I am tasteless..................



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Old 10-19-2010, 05:54 PM   #4
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31 years in and those improved greatly 10 years ago when I stopped smoking.
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Loss of Smell and Taste

I just remember one day I was priming a bathroom with a Benjamin Moore primer called QD-30. (Quick Dry) Oil based, and very strong smelling Nasty stuff.

I had the door closed and I don't know remember if there was a window. But anyway everything was sealed up.

I got pretty high and felt pretty sick from it for a couple of hours, and shortly after that I had the loss of smell and taste.

Today, I can be painting and people will walk in the room and go "Whooo" or "Whew" and I can't smell a damn thing and don't know what they are talking about.

The Doctors were non-committal when I asked them the cause, but I do read stuff online about studies done on people who work with chemicals in general, and olfactory nerve and nervous system damage.

The only thing that restores the smell and with it the taste, is a dose of strong Prednizone until it wears off.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:10 PM   #6
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I can still smell with 23yrs in the business, however I think I have a lot less brain cells.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:14 PM   #7
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some people say I smell
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:17 PM   #8
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First thing I will ask you is what does your doctor atribute this to??

And please tell me you are not looking for a pay day.....

30 + years in the business using just about every product you can think of.Sense of smell and taste are just fine.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:18 PM   #9
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Agent Orange maybe? I don't know.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:23 PM   #10
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The sense of smell is a great tool for our industry. I use it all the time.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:55 PM   #11
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Welcome JD,

I haven't lost the sense of smell, but I did have a taste alteration many years ago. It eventually went away, thank God. I believe it was attributed to particulate saturation of my adenoids, which are located somewhere up in the nasal cavity. I used to tear out and replace a lot of plaster ceilings without proper respiratory protection.

What did you have the sinus surgery for, and is that what has contributed to your loss of smell?
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: Loss of Smell and Taste

I had complete sinus surgery in 1997, and again in 2006.

Basically they put you under anesthesia for a couple of hours and the Ear Nose And Throat Dr. used a tool that cuts and sucks to roto -rooter out all of the sinus cavities. It is tricky surgery at the base of the skull and goes behind the eyes even. Deep into the head.

My sinus cavities were all blocked with polyps and hardened debris, and I could breathe a lot better after that. I still can.

At the base of the skull there is what is called the "Olfactory Bulb"
where the olfactory nerves are located. They communicate smell to the brain. So if the passageway to the nerves are blocked from obstruction such as polyps, you can lose your smell and with it the taste.

Other reasons for loss of smell and taste (Anosmia) can be allergies, a blow to the head, or latent kidney or Parkinsons disease among other things that I have read about. I know a fireman that miraculously survived 9-11, but that had a blow to the head at one point in his career and lost his smell for a long time.

There is nothing I would love more than to have my senses restored, and the Doctors in this day and age just don't have an answer.

So I'm just trying to eliminate the painting as a cause if possible, and so far it sounds like paint chemicals or dust don't do this to everybody who works in the field.

But I am reading things online about the health effects of painting.

For instance respiratory problems:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/j22m413852h62l4t/

There are actually quite a few studies about what happens to painters. One study names a "Painters Disease" and, no kidding, it is about nervous system and brain damage as a result of using solvents.

I'll send that link later, but have to go to work.

See my new blog for more details, and for the other blogs and links I follow dealing with Anosmia and Asthma and related topics.

And no I am not a lawyer or looking to sue anyone, although lawyers do read my blog.

http://esquirepainting.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDpainterguy View Post
I just remember one day I was priming a bathroom with a Benjamin Moore primer called QD-30. (Quick Dry) Oil based, and very strong smelling Nasty stuff/
Weird this is one of the least annoying QD primers I have ever used.Maybe you got a bad batch. I like how it sands too. I use it when I need a good build like on the edge of a freshly cut door edge.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:52 AM   #14
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I can only notice the distinct and strong odors now. I was the main guy spraying back when and applied tons of oil based and latex paints without wearing a mask. I was probably knocking out a few hundred gallons a week by myself at one time. Even sprayed alcohol based paint without the aid of respirators. It gets so hot and humid in the Summer months down in Fl that it was a hassle and aggravation...wonder if losing my smell is a aggravation now
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