We all love color in our lives whether it be in our houses in our bedroom, family rooms, or the outside of your house. Color adds beauty, character, brings joy to our lives and most of us love colors surrounding us whether we live in a house or apartment. Color can change our moods, makes us feel happier, and more alive. We all have our favorite colors and like to use our creativity and what better way than with adding many colors to our homes.
As much as we love our colors we need to be aware of the dangers and health risks of the paint products we use and choose carefully.
Unhealthy Facts About Conventional Paint:
- Typical household paint contains up to 10,000 chemicals,
- 300 are known toxins
- 150 have been linked to cancer
- some of the most harmful chemicals found in paint are VOCs.
- VOCs are unstable, carbon-containing compounds that readily vaporize into the air
- Volatile organic compounds are substances that evaporate from paint allowing it to dry and are very toxic to humans.
- Causes Air Pollution after entering the air, they react with other elements to produce ozone
- Paints and finishes release low-level toxic emissions into the air for years after application
VOC Health Risks in Paints:
- kidney and liver damage
- breathing and respiratory problems
- burning and watery eyes
- increase the risk of asthma
Until recently, VOC’s were essential to the performance of the paint. Paint has changed a great deal in the last decade or so.
3 Categories of non-toxic (or low-toxic) paints:
1. Natural Paints –– Paints that are water-based and give off almost no smell and those that are oil based but have a pleasant smell because they use essential oil or citrus for a pleasant non toxic fragrance. These natural paints are made from natural raw ingredients, plant oils and resins, plant dyes and essential oils. The ingredients are natural minerals such as clay, chalk and talcum; milk casein, natural latex, bees’ wax, earth and mineral dyes. These paints are the safest for your health and for the environment and for those who have allergies, sensitivities, or respiratory problems.
2. Zero VOC — According to the EPA Reference Test Method 24 these paints with VOC’s in the range of 5 grams/liter or less can be called “Zero VOC”. Adding a color or tint usually brings the VOC level up to 10 grams/litre, which is still quite low.
3. Low VOC-the level of harmful emissions are lower than solvent-borne surface coatings, as they carry water as a carrier instead of petroleum base solvents. They tend to emit odor until dry. To avoid this, one should buy paints that contain VOCs less than 25 grams/litre. These certified coatings also contain no, or very low levels, of heavy metals and formaldehyde.
***Some of the “Zero VOC” and low VOC levels products on the market reduce emissions, but still contain a host of unregulated toxic ingredients. Some of these paints still cause indoor and outdoor pollution due to low levels of toxins including colorant, heavy metals, formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone, odor masking agents, exempt solvents, biocides and fungicides. So do your research before purchasing and check labels.
Many paint manufactures now have low VOC and Zero VOC products. In the US Sherwin-Williams (Harmony) and Benjamin-Moore were one of the first to introduce latex Acrylic paints without harmful ammonia and formaldehyde additives. Other choices safe choices are — Casein Milk Paint, EcoClean, Glidden 2000.
The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co is an organic paint based on centuries old formula made from milk protein and lime. It is safe for people, the environment, is completely biodegradable, and contains no VOC’s.
These are considered green and healthy paints.
Advantages and Benefits of Natural, Green, Sustainable Low VOC Paints:
- Environment friendly, as there are lower levels of ozone pollution and no hazard waste
- Fewer emissions of smog-forming chemicals
- Better indoor and outdoor air quality
- Allergies or sensitivities to these paints is uncommon
- Ideal for commercial applications, and offer excellent scrub ability
- Quick Drying and Low or No Odor
- Increased UV resistance, flexibility
- Reduces landfill, groundwater and ozone depleting contaminants.
- Cleanup and disposal greatly simplified.
Health Benefits to Green, Sustainable, Low or Zero VOC Paints:
- Safe for Newborns/Infants that are highly vulnerable to the harmful toxic fumes
- Pregnant Mothers to-be — Much safer for pregnant women. Breathing any harmful chemicals that these conventional interior paints allow, can affect the unborn child directly and certain solvents such as glycol ether are suspected of increasing miscarriages.
- Senior Citizens — Most senior citizens have a keener sense of smell from years of experience, and these conventional paint odors having higher V.O.C’s should be avoided.
- Reduced toxins to those breathing concerns, allergies, chemical sensitivities, Asthma, sensitive bronchial and respiratory passages or disease, bronchitis, those with oxygen, amd those with any breathing concerns do not have to be affected by interior painting job.
Some Helpful Tips for Your Health When painting or doing any wall treatments:
- Make sure rooms are well ventilated and keep windows open
- Use portable air filters and fans to keep air circulating
- Anyone with allergies, chemical sensitivities should avoid area for a few days if possible
There are many health hazards in the toxic world we live in, conventional paint is one of those. We need to educate ourselves and be aware of these dangers to protect ourselves and our families. Living green, organically, naturally and protecting the future of our planet and leaving a positive ecological footprint for all future generations is not only our responsibility, but a duty that we need to take seriously and practice daily in all aspects of our lives.
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Quote of the Day: “A strong, successful man is not the victim of his environment. He creates favorable conditions. His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires!” ~ Orison Swett Marden