Environment Friendly and No-VOC Paints

What to Know About Environmentally Friendly Paint

What is No-VOC Paint?

No-VOC paints are free of the toxic Volatile Organic Compounds that can cause both short and long-term adverse health effects. These VOCs, in fact, are what cause the strong odor when applying a new coat of paint. In addition to being unhealthy for the human painting it, traditional paints are incredibly bad for the environment. Waste Management Inc. actually has latex and oil-based paints on a list of household hazardous waste, and they require special disposal methods to prevent exposure to the environment, lest it cause damage to local wildlife or enter the water supply. Even the pigments in the paint that create the colors can be hazardous at high levels, as they contain heavy metals. If we’re talking about outdoor paints or those used in bathrooms or kitchens, these often contain fungicides, and many brands will actually include biocides, which help to increase shelf life. These biocides and fungicides can actually be detected in the air up to five years after application!

Benefits to No-VOC Paint

“Green” paints have a number of benefits. Firstly and perhaps most importantly, they can be applied the same as any other paint. There’s no special process that needs to be followed, no trick to it at all. Eco-friendly paints are virtually odor-free, and release no significant pollutants, making them perfect for schools, hospitals, the homes of chemically sensitive individuals, and other locations that require low levels of toxicity. If no-VOC paint experiences a spill, it can be cleaned up rather simply with just soap and water. Finally, environmentally friendly paint is as easy to find as regular paint, and generally costs about the same. The EPA and nonprofit groups, like the Greenguard Environmental Institute, set standards that environmentally friendly paints must meet in order to qualify for the term and use it on their packaging.

Conventional oil-based paints are the most toxic option, and have become rather limited in use. While latex paints are safer and now more common, they still include dangerous levels of VOCs, depending on the brand. By comparison, low or no-VOC paints are a relatively cheap, high-quality alternative that is safe for not only you, but the environment as well. Ask your local San Francisco-area painting contractor about no-VOC paints!

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