Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (MSMSE)


Materials Science

First Advisor

Dr. Mahmoud A. Haggag

Second Advisor

Dr. Mahmoud M. Aalawi

Third Advisor

Dr. Adel Hamamee


This thesis records the findings of a research program related to "Paints and Their Environmental Impacts on Human Health in the U.A.E". The study recommends attempt to find out what paint types are of a less harmful influence on human health within different building types in United Arab Emirates due to environmental conditions.

According to Larry W. Canter (1997) "Environmental Impact Assessment" can be defined as "the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impact (effects) of proposed projects, plans, programs, or legislative actions relative to the physical- chemical, biological, cultural, and socioeconomic components of the total environment. The primary purpose of the EIA process is to encourage the consideration of the environment in planning and decision making and to ultimately arrive at actions which are more environmentally compatible."

It is believed that finishing materials have had a very harmful impact on human health. For this reason this belief was chosen to become an aim of our thesis study. The Research study has attempted to identify main types of used finishing paints, their impacts on various building types and users. For this purpose two types of buildings were chosen, on which the study was to be applied: Educational Buildings and Low Cost Housing.

The comprehensive review of literature focuses upon various diseases and systems apparent on building users before and after paint application is carried out in any given space or building in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. But in order to make the research more effective, a concentrated study was done on three particular chosen cities which are of the most populations: Abu Dhabi, Baniyas and Shahama.

On the basis of the research analysis of both experimental, field works, as well as literature analysis; the study concludes that there is a misunderstanding in the community that water base paints are of less harm to human health in the United Arab Emirates; as is believed and proven in international studies. So this study started out with the aim of proving this theory; but a quite astonishing and unexpected result was achieved instead. It is important to put into prescription that No previous studies in the U.A.E or any other Arab country region have been done in this field therefore information was quite scarce and based on theory and mouth talk.

To imply the results of this analytic research into the community and especially into buildings constructed under the regulations of government departments such as the works department in Abu Dhabi, the following is mostly recommended:

  1. Different paint types are required for different building types of buildings with relation to the city of location and environmental factors that are advised to be considered.
  2. It has been noticed from study results that paint materials are not the only factor playing a role in effecting human health and comfort of internal spaces. There are other factors effecting the hazardous health symptoms and diseases that appear on users in different building types such as: users suffering of them even before a paint job is done, pollution, climate, population, environment of space, temperature, humidity ventilation and many other factors as well.
  3. In case of educational buildings it was found from user response analysis that it is most advised to use acrylic based paint in coastal and semi coastal regions of the country (ex. Abu Dhabi and Shahama cities), while water base paints were best used in desert regions (like Baniyas city).
  4. In case of residential buildings it advised to be suitable to use acrylic paint in coastal and desert regions (ex. Abu Dhabi and Baniyas). Water base paint in semi coastal regions such as city of Shahama is suggested to be more appropriate
  5. Amazing result were achieved from test samples, there are hundreds of paint trademarks available with a broad range of paint types and colors available on the market, but the fact remains that they are all similar materials with slight difference in appearance or property.
  6. Different test methods and sample techniques have been able to reveal the fact that there is no such thing as 100% environmentally friendly or hazard-free paints. But we can say there are less harmful paints on human health or of a less environmental impact.
  7. It is wisely advised that paint manufacturers are to be notified of study concluded results in hope that such materials will be developed in respect to country health regulations and environmental aspects taken into in consideration during manufacturing process of any paint type.
  8. It is suggested that the manufacturing of paints is to be in association with environmental regulations stated specifically with the U.A.E. environment (or similar environments) with relation to environment associations or groups examples of the ERWDA (environmental research and wild life development agency) or friends of the environment group.
  9. This section gives consideration to recommendations and suggestions of how study obtained results may be helpful in the community and especially into buildings constructed under the regulations of local government departments or ministries in the emirate or also on the level of the country such as the works department in Abu Dhabi.
  10. it is suggested that further more detailed can be carried out on paint materials and their types (or other building materials) with consideration to environmental aspects, to provide more accurate and most safe and healthy space environment for various building envelopes. It is advised that this is carried out with aid and coordination of government authorities and environmental associations such as: friends of environment association, Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) ... etc.
  11. it may be wise to encourage the carry out of further studies on other factors that might have effect on how paint materials may enhance hazardous effects of different building users should thoroughly and carefully be done with aid of specialists in this field both on the local and international levels. Examples of these studies are to be related to climate (temperature, location, urban activities of the city, building use, ventilation, etc.). these encouragement can be in form of financial grants, scholarships awards etc.
  12. it may be very effective if a material standard specification encyclopedia be written out related specifically with United Arab Emirates environment and health information taken into consideration, similar to standard specifications used on international level...
  13. It is recommended that a material standard specification encyclopedia be written out related specifically with United Arab Emirates environment and health information taken into consideration, similar to standard specifications used on international level.
  14. it is suggested that Urban development plans are to be according to suitable geographical distribution and design stage with consideration to suitable material selection to use with respect to building location and activity type.
  15. Users are to be aware of first aid procedure when dealing with any paint type and it should be handed out by manufacturer with assurance of government authorities.
  16. These suggestions can be done on 3 levels of the community: local government authorities and environmental organizations & associations, population of the community, paint manufacturers.
  • Government authorities in coordination with environmental associations and organizations:

1. It is seen to be a necessity for Government authorities and local departments to be highly aware and careful that paints used in any building type are according to health specifications of the city and building type before building permits are released. It's also advised that this takes place whether or not these projects are executed for the government or private. This is expected to be done in coordination with environmental associations and associations on the local and international level.

2. it is highly advised that site engineers and other concerned engineers are to be traied to raise their level of knowledge in building materials (including paints and their types) and their effects on human health. This may enlighten them on the importance of their role of keeping things into perspective of human health and the environment.

  • Manufacturers, contractors and building material suppliers:

1. It's believed that enhancement of fines on contractors, suppliers and manufacturers who don't follow government paint material (or any other building material) specifications approved and standardized by local or higher government authorities such as from government departments, ministries or environmental organizations ... etc.

2. it is believed to be highly effective that fines are to be enhanced on paint manufacturers, suppliers or contractors using paints (or any other building materials) that are without written information on hazards:

  1. Flammability/ Combustibility:
  2. Solvent toxicity:
  3. Safe use of: Inhalation, Ingestion, Skin Contact, Storage instructions and regulations.
  4. Protecting The Environment By Good Formulation
  5. Toxicity And Environmental Pollution

3. it is suggested that all paint materials (or any other building materials) not following legal authorized specifications implied by local authorities and in coordination with health and environment groups and foundations are to be banned from construction use immediately. But this recommended to be done only after warning.

  • Community population:

1. Encourage user awareness on paint finishing materials and how to choose them according to design requirements and building use with other concerned aspects in consideration and not select just according to taste and desire or economic reasons or factors.

2. It is seen to be important that user awareness may be required of first aid procedure when dealing with any paint type and it should be handed out by manufacturer with assurance of government authorities.