Choosing the Right Eco Friendly Paints: Pros and Cons Choosing the Right Eco Friendly Paints: Pros and Cons
Conventional paints and paint products contain Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC’s) that can lead to all kind of illnesses, even deadly ones like cancer; using eco friendly paints and paint products will safeguard both your health and the general environment.
So choose the right kind of eco friendly paint. Here is what you have to look out for before buying:
- Read the label of contents
- Low odor, low VOC’s
- Look for certification
- Look for organic paint
- “Green” paint accessories
Step 1- Reading the Label
Paint manufacturers are bound by law to print the contents on the paint can. If you see any chemicals like benzene, kerosene, ammonia, formaldehyde and heavy metals amongst others in the contents which make up the paint, avoid it as these chemicals can cause cancer and other kinds of illnesses. The pollution caused by these types of paint will linger for a long while after the job is finished.
Step 2 - Low VOCS, Low Odors
Environment-friendly paints will have the label of low odor and low VOC. These are the paints that can be safely used around children and sensitive people who are allergic to paint smells. Pregnant women especially should stay away from conventional paint as its chemicals can harm both her and her unborn child, not to mention the immediate general discomfort for everyone like eye, nose and throat irritation, caused by inhaling toxic fumes. One thing to be aware of is that some paints will have added chemicals to make them odorless so it is important to read the label carefully.
Step 3 - Certification
Look for certification such as that provided by GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, a non profit organization, whose mission statement promises the safeguarding of “human health and quality of life by controlling and providing programs for indoor air that people breathe”. This is also overseen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency who makes sure that nothing gets in the air or water that is harmful to humans, animals and the environment.
Step 4 - Choosing Organic Paint
Organic paint is low or zero VOC’s paints which are made from casein and plant- and mineral-based ingredients. They are relatively cheap to buy, are easy to apply and there is a big range of color tints to choose from. There are eco-friendly varieties such as natural or milk paints. Milk paints can also be used on furniture and floors and can be found in 28 shades of color.
Step 5 - “Green” Paint Accessories
Going green means using eco-friendly substitutes for the traditional ones. Even the primer you may use can be low in VOCS, as are other house items you may need to apply like lacquers, varnishes, paint strippers and cleaning materials. Substituting citrus solvent for paint thinner is one example. You can get eco-friendly trays, brushes and liners that are made from recyclable materials and can be found on various sites on the net.
Some eco friendly paints may be a bit more expensive than traditional ones but needless to say they are well worth it as they will safeguard your health and the environment which we all share. Before you buy, get yourself educated on what is available and what to avoid and make your home a real safe haven inside and out.