How to Choose a Safe Nursery Paint

ECOS 03/05/2024

Choosing what color to paint the nursery can be a lot of fun – it's a space where almost anything goes. What's not so fun is trying to understand which paint to use. What’s the difference between “low-VOC” and “zero-VOC”? Are eco-friendly paints really worth the extra cost? Are “natural” paints better? Put your confusion and worries to rest using this easy to understand guide for how to choose a safe nursery paint.

What are VOCs?

VOCs are volatile organic compounds, or, in simpler terms, gasses released from products and substances. You’ll find them in everything from cleaners and cosmetics to crafting supplies and carpeting. They aren’t all bad, but many VOCs commonly found in these products are linked to short-term health effects like headaches and nausea and long-term health effects like asthma, neuro-developmental impacts, congenital defects, and even cancer.

Conventional paints contain a host of VOCs, leading to indoor air pollution levels up to 1,000 times higher than outdoors. From carcinogens to neurotoxicants, here’s a roster of super-toxic nasties you’ll find: terpenes, formaldehyde, acrolein, phthalates, glycol, toluene, methylene chloride, styrene, trichloroethylene, xylenes, and benzene. None of these belong in a baby nursery!

What do “low” and “zero-VOC” really mean?

It will likely come as a shock, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows companies to call their product zero-VOC even if it contains off-gassing chemicals. Just as you’d assume, “low-VOC” and “zero-VOC” do indeed mean a product has less VOCs than traditional paints. But, don’t take it at face value. Low or zero-VOC doesn’t always mean non-toxic or healthy or safe. Even zero-VOC paints can contain other risky chemicals not considered VOCs (like highly toxic ammonia and acetone which are not classified as VOCs and are not required by law to appear on the label). Or, the low or zero-VOC claim may only refer to the base paint – not the color tint. So, the moment you add color to your base, you’ve added VOCs right back in.

What about eco-friendly labels and certifications?

Third party, eco-friendly and health certifications can be just as misleading. All third party certifications including the highest levels of certification allow for at least 2 teaspoons (about 50,000 parts per million/ppm) of these chemicals as part of their standards. Yet, toxic chemical exposures as low as 5ppm can cause damage ranging from skin and eye irritation to long-term damage to kidney, respiratory, and cognitive functions.

How do you choose a safe nursery paint?

This one’s easy: choose ECOS Paints. As parents, we were completely frustrated with the lack of regulation and deceptive labeling on paints. Our children deserve better! And, that’s why we created ECOS Paints. We’ve done all the worrying so you can rest easy. You see, there is no good reason why premium quality, durable, beautiful paint needs to contain toxic chemicals. At ECOS Paints, thanks to our extraordinary technology, we have proven this.

Not only are ECOS Paints completely VOC-free, toxic-free, fume-free and worry-free, our premium formula covers up to 1.5 times more surface area than traditional paints because our products aren’t diluted with cheap solvents and fillers. They’re naturally thicker, mask better and cover your walls with ease. With ECOS, you spend less time painting and less money per square foot!

And if you're worried about VOCs and indoor air pollutants in general, check out out ECOS Air Pure Paints that actually absorb indoor air impurities! Now you can turn every wall in your home into a giant filter, each one removing toxic chemicals from the air that you breathe. ECOS Paints’ unique VOC and odor absorbing paints are a revolutionary solution to many of our indoor air quality problems. Molecular sieves permanently capture a wide range of toxic chemicals commonly found in homes and other buildings. Here are the five types of air purifying finishes we currently offer:

  • Atmosphere Purifying Paints– A unique technology combining the purity of the world’s leading organic paint with a surface filtration capability engineered to remove harmful indoor air pollutants. Simply apply as normal wall paint and, when dry, it will filter out and absorb pollutants 24 hours a day, all year round. ECOS Atmosphere Purifying Paint (APP) absorbs 98-99% of volatile pollutants – down to approximately one part per million (gas chromatographic data). This air cleaner effect lasts for years and, unlike a traditional air cleaner unit, it requires no power supply, maintenance or filters.
  • Interior Passivating Primer – This revolutionary addition to our Air Pure range neutralizes solvents and VOCs coming from previously painted surfaces, by trapping the offending gasses.
  • MDF Passivating Primer– Traps harmful contaminants in medium density fiber board, plywood and particle board before they can reach the air.
  • EMR Shielding Paint– A permanent wall treatment using a proprietary Nickel additive which has been independently tested to provide up to 98% protection against microwave energy at 900MHz and 1800 MHz.
  • Anti-Formaldehyde Radiator Paint - A formaldehyde-absorbing primer/finish for hot water radiators.

So, relax and choose some free color samples. Or, if you’ve already chosen colors from another brand, we’ll gladly color match to meet your needs. And, let us know if you have any questions — we’re always happy to help!