Many commercial paints contain up to 10,000 chemicals, over 300 of which are known toxins; 150 of those are known to cause cancer.
There is a dangerous subcategory of these chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can leech out of paint for years. VOCs have been shown to cause breathing problems, headaches, eye irritation and nausea. Some have even been linked to higher incidents of cancer.
VOCs are unstable carbon-based compounds that vaporize into the air easily. This process can last for years. Most people don’t realize it, but they may be surrounded by the very chemicals that are making them sick.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to paints with VOCs. These paints are identified as low-VOC or no-VOC paints. In fact, most major paint manufacturers have begun making paints that have very little or no harmful chemicals.
Finding these types of paints is as easy as asking your paint retailer, or checking labels closely. There are several companies that now have a green seal on their paints. These seals are designed to tell consumers that this is a healthier paint than the traditional types. In addition to paint, there are also natural, oil-based wood finishes that can be used to stain and seal wood without bringing toxins into the home.
In Europe, the move toward low or no VOC paints has been going on for some time. In the United States, many companies have begun selling “nursery” paints. These are paints that have few VOCs, specifically designed for childrens’ rooms.
Because all of these paints are water-based, they clean up more easily and are better for the environment. There is little or no odor while painting and no odor afterward.
There are several companies that specialize in only healthier paint alternatives. Many produce paints made from natural ingredients that don’t contain any VOCs and are entirely non-toxic. In fact, many of them also have essential oils in them that give them a pleasant scent.
Some of the larger paints companies offer zero-VOC paints. A paint that has less than 5 grams per liter of VOCs can be called zero-VOC. While these paints are not made from natural ingredients, they don’t leech out toxins into the environment. Because these companies’ products are easy to find, you can simply visit your paint retailer and ask them for paints in the zero-VOC lines.
Using healthier paints is easy. All you have to do is take the extra moment to find them. You, your family and the planet will be a healthier for it.
And for assistance with all of your home’s painting needs, Handyman Matters stands ready to help. Contact them by calling 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.