Low VOC paints are the future of a healthy home. Convention paints contain volatile organic compounds besides heavy metals and formaldehyde. Producing these paints can also lead to toxic waste that is generated in volumes many times over the actual paint itself. VOCs have a log term effect that can last for years, even long after the paint has dried. Constant exposure to these conventional paints can cause lung cancer; a disease that often affects professional painters.
All these problems can be avoided if eco-friendly paints are used. The best quality of these environmentally friendly paints is those that are plant based or solvent borne paints that use natural solvents. They are still a small percentage of the market, but greater awareness is leading to their increasingly widespread use. Because of the low volumes, these paints do remain more expensive, but not disturbingly so. These paints can be used in any situation that is suitable for conventional paints. Most of these paints are microporous and they do not use any chemical component that can cause burning to eyes nose and throat and can irritate skin and cause burns.
Eco-friendly paints are therefore ideal for surfaces that need to breathe. These paints are water based and have natural components that have no harmful effects. The added benefit of these natural products is that they are biodegradable. All components of these paints are natural and will have plant extracts like beeswax, seed oil, and lemon peel extract. These ingredients do not have any unsafe emissions either during the manufacturing process or after application on any surface.
Here are a few manufacturers that provide Low VOC paint:
These paints also do not emit any odor like paints that contain chemicals. They are ideal for use by those who are health conscious, and this helps to make them cost effective because they do not cause any health problems. Technology has made it possible for these paints to be qualitatively superior to chemical paints and give improved coverage and color retention. The paints have a wide variety of shades, a better viscosity that improves coverage and causes a minimal of abrasion.
Eco-friendly paints can have material that is bio-based, while some of them may be natural to the full range of components in them. Some coatings use clay, chalk, lime, and marble with vegetable casein acting as binding agents. The coloring is carried out with mineral pigments that occur naturally in earth, gemstones, and rocks. These paints will, therefore, have a natural beauty that is never present in chemical paints. Most of these earth products are odorless, non-toxic and biodegradable.
When you are considering the environmental impact of any paint, you also need to take into account the energy used to manufacture, pack and transport the paint as this has an impact on its carbon footprint. Some paint manufacturers have turned to solar and geothermal power, rainwater harvesting and other actions that allow them to make their paint more eco-friendly. Natural paints like whitewash that use locally available lime are one of the best examples of paints that are completely in tune with the requirements of being eco-friendly.
Before you purchase any paint for your home project it may be a good idea to speak with your local contractor. I spoke with Guelph Painters for the best advice on which paints to use and where to get them in our local area.
I also found this video that has some additional information.
Hope this helps in your endeavor to a healthy home!