You know that smell – that freshly painted room that looks great but gives you a headache. In fact, if I am gone all day long and it’s warm out, when I get home I can still smell the paint in my house from 4 months ago when the landlord repainted it prior to us moving in. That is how long the chemicals in “regular” paint can last! That is why when I painted a room in our old apartment in California, the last time I painted much of anything, I used a Low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint, and I was amazed at the lack of overpowering smell. I was painting my home office with this paint and when I was done I actually went right to work, surrounded by drying paint. No headaches, no nothing. It was tremendous. Some VOCs are greenhouse gases and therefore contribute to global warming and others are just bad for your health. While a few VOCs occur naturally from cows and trees, many come from manufactured products such as paint thinners, paints and varnishes and dry cleaning solvents. These VOCs contribute to illnesses and have been determined to be a cause of ”˜sick building syndrome’. The EPA has found concentrations of VOCs in indoor air to be 2 to 5 times greater than in outdoor air due to paint and other products. Lucky for us, major paint companies are now making low or no VOC paints we can use, which really reduce our exposure to these chemicals. Here are a few companies that make these paints, which you can find at most major home stores now.
– This low odor, zero toxicity paint from Mythic Paints is a non-toxic, ultra low odor paint that provides the durability and coverage you expect from a premium paint without the off-gassing VOC’s and cancer-causing toxins that emit years after drying.
– Natura interior waterborne paint is a zero VOC, virtually odorless formula.
– Zero VOC Pearl from AFM Safecoat is a premium quality, fast curing paint designed for interior surfaces where a soft sheen and superior film formation are needed. SCS Certified & LEED Qualified.
– The BioShield collection of paints, stains, thinners and waxes is made primarily from naturally-derived raw materials including citrus peel extracts, essential oils, seed oils, tree resins, inert mineral fillers, tree and bee waxes, lead-free dryers and natural pigments.
While there are many other products available, the most important thing you can do is pick any one of them over your “standard” paint. The low-VOC product I used, from my local Ace Hardware, worked great – so I imagine these “name brand” paints would work well too. Picking one of these products is safer for you, your home, and our environment, so choose wisely next time you go to paint. Have you had experience with any of these paint brands? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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