Chemicals in Paintballs

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Paintball is a popular outdoor sporting activity. Players compete on a mock battlefield and shoot each other with special guns that deliver a ball-shaped pellet full of paint to its target. There are several chemicals used in the manufacture of paintballs. While most paintballs are labeled as non-toxic, some of the ingredients can have adverse reactions in animals if ingested.

Polyethylene Glycol & Gelatin

  • The pellets that hold the paint and give the paintball its shape are made out of a mixture of Polyethylene Glycol and Gelatin. Paintball manufacturers create the pellets in the same fashion that drug companies use to create medicine capsules. Polyethylene Glycol can have a diuretic effect on animals if ingested and cause PH levels in the blood to become toxic.

Glycerine

  • Glycerine is used as a thickening agent in the paintballs. It also prevents the paintballs from freezing which is essential since paintball is a popular winter activity in many parts of the world.

Ground Pig Skin Powder

  • One of the best-kept secrets in paintball manufacturing is the use of ground pigskin powder in the creation of paintballs. The powder helps to keep the liquid ingredients inside the paint ball from separating to retain the vibrancy of the paintball color.

Sorbitol

  • Moisture inside the pellet is regulated by the addition of sorbitol to prevent the liquid ingredients from drying out. It also increases the shelf life of the paintball.

Dye

  • Non-toxic food grade dyes are used to color the liquid ingredients of the paintball to create the “paint” encapsulated in the pellet.

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  • Photo Credit paintball image by Steffi Mueller from Fotolia.com
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