Why Choose Environmentally Friendly and No-VOC Paint
What to Know About No-VOC Paint
What is No-VOC?
Environmentally safe or eco-safe paint is paint that has been specially designed to have low levels of VOCs, which stands for Volatile Organic Chemicals. VOCs have been noted by the Environmental Protection Agency as having the potential to cause both short- and long-term adverse health effects, and using paints containing VOCs can expose individuals to very high pollutant levels, levels which can remain long after the painting has been completed. VOCs in paint are, in fact, the reason that it is recommended that one only paint in a well-ventilated room. As far as the health of the environment goes, Waste Management Inc. actually has latex and oil-based paints on a list of household hazard 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!
Choosing Eco-Friendly Paint
If you’re looking for a natural alternative that avoids all of the dangers listed above, you have plenty of options. You’re going to want to look for paints without VOCs, paints that are low in biocides, and paints that are low in fungicides. “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!