How Interior Paints Affect Indoor Air Quality
Home improvement projects often affect the quality of air in your home. This is especially true of applying paint to the walls. Painting a wall isn’t as intensive of a home improvement project as knocking down a wall, but its effects on the air quality in your home can be severe. This is how interior paints affect indoor air quality.
What Are VOCs?
Paints typically have such harmful effects on air quality because they contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. They’re what give conventional paint its harsh smell. You can also find these solvents in several other home products, such as aerosol sprays, wood preservatives, disinfectants, air fresheners, and carpet. VOCs are permitted in certain amounts, but the VOCs in interior paints can affect indoor air quality negatively, leading to a host of detrimental effects.
Effects of VOCs on Air Quality
VOCs can greatly affect the health of the people and pets within the home—especially after long-term exposure—by irritating their eyes, throats, and noses and causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, skin issues, and shortness of breath. These issues are even worse for people with chemical sensitivities, allergies, or breathing conditions such as asthma. In some cases, VOCs can damage the central nervous system and internal organs such as the kidneys and liver. Research has even made some connections between VOCs and cancer, though it’s still ongoing.
How To Create a Safer Environment While Painting
It’s crucial that the space you’re painting is well-ventilated. This may involve opening windows and turning on exhaust fans. This is true during painting as well as when the paint is drying. VOC levels tend to be the highest when new paint dries, so it’s a good idea to stay out of the painted room for at least three days.
Another option is to skip paints that contain VOCs altogether. Considering the potential threats of VOCs, paint companies have begun producing low-VOC and VOC-free paints. These paints have a less harsh smell and a far less significant effect on the indoor air quality of a room. Our water-based interior paints are not only odorless* and non-toxic**, but also VOC-free***. Try out a few samples today!
*Odorless: no traditional paint (polyurethane) odor, which can cause headaches, nausea, and respiratory issues.
**Non-toxic: conforms to ASTM-D4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation and respiratory effects.
***VOC-free: conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom and office use).