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Choosing Paint for a Healthy Home Environment


Its spring, and it is a popular time of the year to do remodeling to refresh and make your home look new again, especially with that tax refund!  Most home improvement and home renovation projects involve painting, but making the wrong product choice and you may be adding toxins to the air that will linger for years.  With home envelopes becoming more sealed for better insulation, indoor quality is getting worse. According to the EPA, volatile organic compounds called VOCs which pollute the air can be found to be up to ten times higher in a home than outside, and is the fourth greatest environmental threat in the USA.  VOCs can adversely affect the respiratory system, cause headaches, affect memory, damage the liver and kidneys, and can cause cancer.

VOCs are emitted from thousands of items found indoors from carpet to plastics, products that we use everyday for which there is no alternative, but there is a choice with paint. Paints are among the leading culprits for emitting VOCs in the home, for there is so much square footage covered with it. Consumer demand has brought about the development of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints. These new paint formulas are less harmful to the air quality and personal health.

The safest paints for your health and environment are natural paints made from ingredients such as water, plant oils, clay, minerals, and dyes and are labeled 100% VOC-free.  Look for the transparency of a complete ingredients list, and be suspect if it says, “no harmful ingredients.”  Natural paints may be sold in powdered form and will need to be mixed before application. They tend to go on thicker. Distemper paints say they are wipeable, but that doesn’t mean they can be cleaned off, for they are not water resistant.  It means it can be wiped completely off. Natural paints typically are minimally processed, which is also good on the environment.  There is even a paint that claims it will purify the air of VOCs without the use of electricity or filters!  That’s about as exciting as the smog eating roof tile!  It is Atmosphere Purifying Paint produced by ECOS Organic Paints.

The next level of choice is “no VOC” paint.  It does not mean it is without VOC’s, for it still can contain up to 5 grams of VOC per liter, and if you add a tint, that could double the amount of VOC’s in the paint.  This type of paint is more available in retail stores. Low VOC paint can have 50 grams per liter of VOC.  Regular paint can have up to 250 grams per liter!

Don’t be causing indoor pollution with a paint that off gasses chemicals.  Specify a zero, no, or low VOC paint for your next home remodeling project.  You can enjoy better health because of it!

Happy Home Remodeling!

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