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My condo apartment smells of chemicals like paint. Answered

I am living in a condo (apartment Building, 2nd Floor). For the last 5 days my house smells of chemicals like paint or something very close to the paint . In the living room we have small office area with computer and printer where smells very strong. Also this smell is in the kitchen, in the bedroom, all over the apartment. I am the only one that can smell it. It is not paint. The refrigerator works ok, the stove is electric and the furnace is turned off.  The Consumers checked for gas, but there was non. Who should I call in order to come and detect where  this smell is coming from? 

10 Replies

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JosiahH11 (author)2018-01-26

If anyone figures it out please post weve had to abandon our home, the smell was making us all sick

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TamieJP (author)2017-01-15

I just experienced similar. I came home to a strong chemical/paint smell. I have searched and searched. I kept getting fresh air and searching for the odor. I finally was able to find the source. It was an aerosol can that got a tiny puncture. It drained out.


I had to clean and clean the liquid and I hope that I have finished.

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Quedra (author)2015-10-10

I have been experiencing the same problem for days. Did you find any solution? Please write back, thanks in advance.

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caitlinsdad (author)2015-04-22

Have you checked the inside of your computer and are your using a laser/toner based printer? Those devices do heat up and something inside could be melting or burning off. Other than that, is this the first time you've noticed the smell or is it seasonal? Maybe mold or has there been recent humid conditions/water rain damage? Any cleaning done with new chemicals like rug cleaning? Does the smell persist after you air out the house with open windows and doors? Any sign of rodents/animals that have entered the walls - mice/bats?

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Aladana (author)caitlinsdad2015-04-24

I was thinking about the computer. I have a small office in the living room, and I turned off everything, but the smell was still there. Last Wednesday appeared for the firs time, and we have the balcony's door open 8-10 hours a day, but still the smell is there. This week-end I will take the computer to a professional person to ck it out. And is not that kind of smell from animals...it is toxic rather the nasty

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Downunder35m (author)2015-04-22

Would it be possible to explain the type of smell a bit more?
If we can close in on this it could help to find the cause.

You said it smells similar to paint.
Mineral turps when spilled can stink for weeks but it should be fairly easy to follow the scent to the source.

Acetone or similar solvents will only stay in the air for a short time, which would mean someone in your building uses it on a frequent base if the smell is persistant.

Ether and similar can cause a strong chemical like scent when mixed with other chemicals but also a faint solvent stink with a "sweet" note when pure.

So much for common "legal" chemicals as used for cleaning and painting.
Some paint strippers can be quite stinky too but you would not have an ongoing problem.

A meth lab can cause all sorts of smells depending on the recipe used and how much the cook wants to invest in proper chemicals.
It is unavoidable to get changing levels of concentration, especially if the cook does not care about proper filtration with activated charcoal or does not bother to neutralise the waste products.
If your smell is sometimes stronger or at times really annoying but at other times only faint be careful.
Should you suspect a meth lab visit your friendly cop station and ask nicely for someone to come for a smell test, if possible not in uniform.
The cops know the smell of local meth labs and will be able to tell you if that is the case.
In no case should you go door knocking if you have the above as you get more trouble than you want.
Also inform your landlord again to investigate, maybe on a short call when you can notice a stronger smell.

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Aladana (author)Downunder35m2015-04-24

The smell is like a fresh paint with a light menthol scent. Sometimes is stronger, it is not the same all the time. Consumers and Fire Department didn't find anything. Three guys from FD checked all my condo, and they couldn't smell anything, even I was feeling the smell at that time. I have a very sensitive smell. It is weird for me because I can smell that scent in the car when I am driving. I end up calling a professional environmental company that can check the quality air. In the meantime I am looking for a place to move out. I have two kids and I can't put them in danger. Thank you for your answers.

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Downunder35m (author)2015-04-21

Might be chemical lab (legal or illegal) in the basement?
If it is not coming from the outside I would look out for chemical smells or constant fan noise from surrounding apartments and the basement.
In any case the landlord should recitfy the source of smell if he can confirm it in your apartment.
You don't have a leaking bottle of nailpolish remover forgotten somewhere?

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Aladana (author)Downunder35m2015-04-22

No. I checked everything. I was thinking about the lab. Thank you. I will check around

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Kiteman (author)Downunder35m2015-04-22

A drug lab in the building was my first thought, based purely on a UK medical drama - woman kept complaining about the "smell of paint" from downstairs, collapsed, turned out she was breathing the fumes of a drug factory.

If the smell doesn't turn out to be of your own making (as DU says, check for spills, also very elderly oranges have a chemical/paint sort of smell), then you're going to have to do the rounds of your neighbours in the building, check with them (hey, maybe downstairs really are decorating!), and if that doesn't cure it you'll have to get the landlord to find and fix the smell.

If you suspect illicit activities in an apartment, my recommendation is to make an anonymous call to the authorities, to prevent things coming back at you from suppliers/customers.

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