Homeowner's Guide To Choosing Eco-Friendly Paints (Part 2)

ECOS 12/12/2017

In the last post, we started to discuss the serious health risks associated with the use of chemicals and paints that contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. Fortunately, there are viable alternatives that can limit or completely alleviate these risks, and picking out non toxic paints that don't contain harmful chemicals is the key to protecting your family's long-term health.

But where can you find non toxic paints? Here's part two of our homeowner's guide to choosing low VOC and eco-friendly paints.

What constitutes 'low' and 'zero' VOC? 'Zero VOC' is a term used to describe non-toxic paints made with natural ingredients as well as other substances with a VOC concentration of fewer than five grams per liter.

Keep in mind that most 'zero VOC' paints still use trace amounts of certain biocides, fungicides, and colorants. This means that even though they're considered non toxic, they're typically better to avoid for infants and small children.

Low VOC paints are those that use water as a base as opposed to any petroleum products. This decreases toxicity compared to traditional solvent-based paints. Low VOC describes non toxic paints and other paints with less than 50 grams per liter of VOCs.

Alternative Ingredients When looking for 'eco-friendly' paints, focus on the ingredients. If the intense odor of traditional paints is overwhelming, choose a water based-option that is almost entirely odorless. Oil based natural paints often give off a slightly sweet smell as well. Both of these options -- water-based and oil-based -- are ideal for preventing allergy attacks and VOC health effects. Some ingredients more commonly found in natural paints include bees' wax, casein from milk, natural latex, plant oils and resins, talcum, clay, chalk, and other mineral-based dyes.

Painting with non toxic paints and low VOC substances can make a noticeable difference in health. Those who suffer from allergies may notice a reduced severity of associated symptoms. But more importantly, studies show these components can have a major effect on cognitive functioning as well. In fact, in a recent study, participants spent six full work days in an environmentally-controlled office space at the TIEQ lab at the Syracuse Center of Excellence. In this space, VOC levels were reduced to approximately 50 micrograms per cubic meter and 40 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air per person. They found that, on average, cognitive scores were 101% higher than in conventional workspaces.

When all is said and done, it's up to you to make the right eco-friendly decision for your home and your family. Understanding the facts about traditional vs. environmentally friendly paints can make all the difference in keeping your family safe. For more information about health effects from VOCs, or to order non toxic spray paints, low odor paints, and safe coatings, contact Ecos Paints.