Are you trying to find a safer substitute for conventional indoor paints? Read this article to find out how to pick painting supplies that will produce excellent results while having a minimal impact on the environment and the health of your family. The following information will help you choose non-toxic paint that is both safe for you and the environment.
There are numerous alternatives for paint, ranging from brands and colors to finishes and formulations. And while choosing the ideal hue for your living room or furniture restoration project may be your priority, it may also be crucial to take the composition of the paint into account. After all, it might include VOCs—harmful chemicals that could affect both the environment and the health of your family.
When applied to surfaces, paint is a liquid base that contains pigments for color and binders for adhesion. Oil-based paint frequently uses synthetic solvents, whereas latex and acrylic paints are water-based. As a general rule, paints that are water-based, such as latex and acrylic, are safer than paints that are oil-based.
Paint can also contain a variety of additives to improve its application, quickness of drying, durability, resistance to stains and scuffs, and other qualities. Fewer additives are generally better in terms of eco-safety. Pesticides, biocides, and metals used in pigments are a few to look for (such as cadmium and chromium).
Nowadays, the majority of individuals have at least heard about VOCs. It stands for volatile organic compounds, the substances most frequently utilized as stabilizers, driers, thickeners, and preservatives in a range of industrial products.
VOC concentrations are up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors and are discharged into the air as gases with a strong, unpleasant odor. Sadly, their toxicity can linger for a very long time after the smell disappears.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the short- and long-term adverse health impacts of VOCs range from allergic reactions, headaches, and nausea to diseases of the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and even cancer.
Some VOCs have also been linked to ozone layer deterioration. The EPA now sets a limit of 250 gm/l for "low-VOC" latex paints and 380 gm/l for "low-VOC" oil-based paints for the amount of VOCs.
The "zero-VOC" paint paints that are currently available are much better for the environment. While simpler formulations like chalk paint and milk paint may be completely VOC-free, some commercial paints with that designation are only allowed to include 5gm/l of VOCs. Although it's usually a good idea to air the area where you're painting, low- and zero-VOC paints have the advantage of not having a strong odor when applied.
It can be challenging to determine what is in the can of paint because paint manufacturers don't frequently include all of the components on the label. Looking at the technical data sheet online might not give you all the information.
How can you be sure you are purchasing environmentally friendly paint then? Look for certification stamps from independent testing. For example, colors with the GREENGUARD label contain less than 50 grams of VOC per litre, while paints with the Green Seal have a maximum of 50 grams for flat paint and 100 grams for non-flat paints.
The Coatings Research Group Inc., which has evaluated and certified the products under the Green Wise label, has less credibility than independent groups because it is an association of paint manufacturers.
DIYers with environmental goals should be aware that there are several types of paints, including chalk paint, clay paint, and milk paint, from low- or even no-VOC colors from major commercial manufacturers.
The latter is typically more expensive, manufactured in smaller batches, with fewer and simpler ingredients. Undoubtedly, people on a tight budget frequently select paints of this kind for tasks like giving old furniture items a brand-new coat rather than painting an entire room.
Remember that the term "natural" has a relatively open definition regarding painting products. Terpenes, for example, which are VOCs generated from plants, may be present in some natural paints.
Additionally, although though casein, a protein used as a binder in milk paint, is a "natural" animal product, it may not be entirely regarded as ecologically friendly given that large-scale dairy facilities have been shown to contribute to the production of greenhouse gases.
The earliest formulations used by large paint producers to create healthier and more environmentally friendly products had poor outcomes, but over the past ten years, there have been substantial advancements.
Many low- and zero-VOC paints available today, including natural paints, offer great coverage, lovely hues, simple application, and even finishes. However, some consumers may still choose colors with compounds like biocides that withstand harsh wear and tear conditions for lifespan on exteriors and high-traffic surfaces like floors.
The best eco-friendly paints should use natural pigments, have minimal levels of biocides, and have few volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
For links to paint firms that have been reviewed by this non-profit membership group that supports ethical and environmentally conscious buying, go to Green America. Consider the following names and goods as well:
This fast-curing, zero-VOC interior paint is simple and easy to clean with soap and water.
This business, which is well-known for its modern hues in a constrained palette, additionally provides low-VOC latex paints that are GreenWise certified and 12 x 12-inch stickers in place of the customary swatch/sample selection procedure.
This solvent-free, zero-VOC wall paint goes smoothly over any standard gypsum board, sheetrock, plaster, or masonry materials like concrete and brick.
This zero-VOC interior paint has the advantage of not requiring primer while yet offering excellent concealment and coverage. It is also scrub- and stain-resistant.