If you are not adding any medium that has a solvent in it to your paints, there should be no significant vapors to breathe that would cause any problems with your health, unless perhaps you are allergic to linseed oil. I've never heard of anyone being allergic to the smell of linseed oil. Are you adding any medium to your paints? If so, what are the ingredients in the medium?

In any case, it's best to paint where there is good ventilation, ideally in a large airspace with an open window or an exhaust fan, and to keep all containers of solvent and mediums containing solvent covered.

As for lamp black being suspected of triggering health problems, my suggestion would be to use ivory black instead, and see if you get the same reaction. If so, then the problem is being caused by something other than lamp black. If you prefer the way lamp black performs, perhaps Mars black would work for you. They're very similar in optical effects and working properties. I've been able to paint very well without lamp black for over fifty years, so I know it can be done.

The oil paints that are toxic to any appreciable degree are lead whites, vermilion, genuine Naples yellow, chrome yellow, chrome red, chrome orange, cadmiums, cobalts and cerulean blue. There was a violet that was made with arsenic, but it has not been available for many years. None of these oil paints give off toxic vapors, however. One could only be poisoned by them by eating paint or getting it in the nose or in a cut in the skin. Washing hands frequently and perhaps wearing surgeon's gloves while preparing the palette are usually sufficient to prevent becoming poisoned. Mulling dry pigments carries the possibility of inhaling airborne pigment particles, but it isn't really necessary to mull our own paints, since there are good quality oil paints available ready to paint with.

If I knew more about what you were doing, I might be able to provide more specific information that could help you. I suggest you use only linseed oil to thin your paints to a good painting consistency, and not use any other medium. With this method, there should be no toxic vapors in the air to cause or aggravate any health problems.

Virgil Elliott