Paintball is a sport of growing popularity. It’s a great way to get some exercise while spending time with friends. Some companies have even started using paintball as a team-building exercise. Many newbies to the sport have one important question: Just what, exactly, am I splattering all over myself and my friends?
It’s Not Really Paint
At least, it’s not the paint we put on our houses, cars and canvases. Paint is usually a coloring agent suspended in some sort of glue or resin, which sticks the color to a surface. Those glues and resins (and sometimes the agents) often carry toxic or polluting chemicals–the last thing we want to be spraying around in the woods or on the field.
A paintball is like a grape: a thin outer coating filled with juice. This coating is made of biodegradable gelatin, much like the outer coating of a gel capsule pill.
The filling for a paintball is a mixture of liquid and coloring agent. The liquid is usually a nontoxic oil like vegetable oil or cod liver oil. Most of the time, the coloring agent is simple food dye.
Some folks like to use glow-in-the-dark dyes, scented dyes or other fancy dyes. Though they aren’t food coloring, manufacturers take care to make sure these fillings are no more harmful than the regular colored dyes.
Dealing With Stains
Most paintball filling will wash out with your regular laundry, though some residue might be visible on highly contrasting shirts (such as yellow paint on black clothes or red paint on white).