March 14, 2020

What is Inside of a Paintball? Is it really Paint and is it Toxic?

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If you have played paintball or even if you haven't yet and you are just starting to look into playing, you probably have thought about what is inside of a paintball. You wouldn't be the first, many stories I have seen from people act like it is paint, oil, or other harmful chemicals and is hazardous to people, this is not true.

What is inside of a paintball? The main component of the inside of the paintball, the "paint", is polyethylene glycol, which has been and continues to be used in many food items in the stores today. It is a non-toxic component that helps give the consistency and coloring that paintball relies on.

Now we will really dive in and explain a little more in detail about the construction of paintballs and what they use to make them, fro the outside shell to the interior "paint". Then we will cover whether it is safe for you to eat the paint should it bust into your mouth.

What is a Paintball Made Of, is it Plastic?

Overall a paintball is made out of a few specific items which can help you understand how safe they really are for you. No, none of the ingredients are plastic or plastic-based compounds otherwise these paintballs wouldn't break on impact and would leave large and solid bruises.

What Are Paintballs Made Of Then?

  • Water - A primary ingredient in all paintballs which is a part of all of the parts, the shell and interior.
  • Capsule or Shell - This is the outside layer of any paintball. They act as a container for the "paint" material which is contained inside. The shell is made from gelatin which is why they are non-toxic.
  • Coloring Almost all modern paintballs use dyes/food coloring to add color to the paintball.
  • Polyethylene Glycol - The primary component used in the creation of the filling of a paintball. It is what gives the paintball paint a thicker appearance and helps hold color better.

What Is The Exterior Shell?

The exterior shell of a paintball is actually gelatin, similar to a gummy bear or other gelatin-based treats. This allows for the shape to be maintained along with allowing a long life to the paintball while allowing it to break with ease on impact.

What Is The Internal Filling?

The center of a paintball is actually a mix of three ingredients in most cases, water, coloring, and polyethylene glycol. This allows it to have a nice quality coloring within the shell and when it bursts on impact with a player on the field.

Paintballs are made of food-grade materials which means they are safe for use and play. I can tell you from a first-hand account that while made of food-grade materials, the taste of a paintball is not in any way enjoyable, it is pretty horrible tasting!

Are Paintballs Bad For the Environment?

The benefit of using food grade components in the paintballs means that they are very environmentally friendly. They can be left outside on the ground and they will slowly degrade until they are invisible and you couldn't tell that they were there before.

So when you see shells laying around on a woodsball field you don't need to fret and worry, as rains and as the time passes they will become part of the area, melting themselves away.

What Happens if you Eat a Paintball?

Sometimes in paintball, you get shot in the mask by where your mouth is located. While this isn't a danger to you from health and wellness there is a side effect that can occur after the fact due to the material within the paintball.

You see since the center fill of the paintballs is polyethylene glycol you may have a visit with the toilet should you consume too much. Polyethylene glycol is actually used for a laxative so the side-effect of consuming too much via on purpose or via accident is diarrhea.

Paintballpod with balls isolated on a white background - What is Inside of a Paintball?
Paintball pod with balls

What Happens if a Dog Eats a Paintball?

While it isn't toxic to dogs to eat a paintball it can cause them to have various digestive issues, it can induce vomiting and will add stress to their lives and possibly your life.

If you feel concern though that they may have eaten paintballs and you see reactions that you bring your pet to the vet and get them some care to make sure they stay healthy and safe.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed learning more about how paintballs are made and how they are created and built for play. While it seems like such a little thing paintball creation is quite an amazing process and creates hours and hours of enjoyment for everyone!

We would love for you to join our Facebook group over here and subscribe to us on YouTube as we start to show you the benefits to outdoor diversions and show why you should take time to enjoy them and not be stuck inside.

Article written by Josh Koop
I have loved to play outdoor games since I was a little kid, as I grew up I found more games and I also found out about alternate rules. I started Outdoor Diversions with Matt to help get this information out to everyone so they can enjoy these games as much as I do!