Most commercial paint brands use Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs, chemical compounds that evaporate quickly. Yet, most of said chemicals are toxic having been associated with various health conditions. These include respiratory infections, liver and kidney impairment, asthma, headaches, nausea, skin disorders, and eye inflammation.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribes a “Low VOC” requirement which is not over 250 grams for every liter of latex and 380 grams per liter for oil-based paints. Consumers must check labels for the VOC level or request for a material data safety sheet from the concerned manufacturer.
On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that painters exposed to excessive amount of VOCs have the tendency to develop lung cancer. Another alarming revelation is that one liter of paint translates to nearly 30 liters of poisonous waste.
Your best option is to purchase eco-friendly paints specifically the soy-based variety for the following reasons.
The Department of Health and Human Services found out that naphthalene can turn out as human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) based on recent animal studies. Exposure to substantial amounts of these substances can also result in nausea, diarrhea, and blood in the urine. On the other hand, non-toxic paints do not have hazardous emissions that impact one’s health negatively.
Environmentally-safe and soy-based paints were made to last longer than petroleum-based coats. The paint becomes harder upon drying with dirt-repellant feature which allows the product to maintain a fresh look longer than the usual acrylic and oil paints. Therefore, homeowners can expect less-frequent repainting which means more cost-savings.
Notwithstanding the benefits of eco-friendly paints, some of them have adverse effects that consumers should consider. Many supposedly non-toxic coats still contain VOC solvent compounds like fungicides and chemical dyes. Ironically, the shift towards low-content Volatile Organic Compounds compelled manufacturers to add more synthetic components in a more extensive production process compared to previous years.
At present, there is no definite definition or description of an eco or natural paint. Some manufacturers make use of artificial petrochemical-based elements in reduced amounts. Others were manufactured using natural solvents. However, these still contain VOCS. To cover the smell of poisonous gases, such products are infused with the simulated odor of selected citrus fruits.
Some of the paints have animal products. Others include titanium dioxide as whitener which contributes significantly to environmental issues. These particles can produce neurological dysfunction. Certain claims made by eco producers can be misleading. Ethical consumers must learn how to toe the line in purchasing paint products. There is a Green Guide which says that plant and water-based paints are the most practical buy. See to it you avoid trademarks that use titanium dioxide which can irritate the eyes and nose.
Homeowners’ foremost concerns should be wellbeing and safety regardless of the brand and type of paint. Innovations in paint technology have witnessed remarkable changes as water and soy-based paints became more popular in the market. At the same time, more stringent VOC rules are continuously implemented not only in the United States but also across the globe.
Our goal is build a sustainable way of life. Using paints with low VOC manifests our responsibility towards sustainability. Companies and manufacturers who espouse proper management of waste water and helping get rid of dangerous chemical discharge must be lauded for their efforts to safeguard the environment.