Paint and VOC’s
Paint has historically contained VOC’s. VOC’s are Volatile Organic Compounds. Both naturally occurring and synthetic compounds, they release chemicals into the air as they evaporate – usually with an odor and often toxic.
The paint and finishes industry has been pressured, and in some states regulated, to produce low or zero VOC products. This is great news and certainly a step in the right direction, but doesn’t tell the whole story.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) only regulates and requires listing of VOC’s that cause outdoor pollution or smog. This means chemicals or additives that may be toxic, but do not cause outdoor smog, don’t have to be listed. Therefore, ammonia or acetone, known to be harmful to humans, can be included in paint company’s ‘proprietary’ or ‘secret’ ingredients.
So, how can you find the safest paints and finishes? A good start is to read the manufacturer’s MSDS (materials safety data sheet). While there are a few loopholes, by looking at the maximum percentage listings of the ingredients on the MSDS and adding up the figures, it is usually apparent if the company is not disclosing all of the ingredients in their product.
Another big VOC culprit may be in the tints used to color your paint. Paint that begins as a zero VOC product will no longer be that zero VOC paint unless using a no VOC tinting system as well – ask your salesperson.
Southwest Green Home Center proudly offers AFM Safecoat and Real Milk Paint – both zero VOC paints. Of course we are using the zero VOC tints as well. AFM Safecoat paints are perfect for your interior walls. Real Milk Paint is mostly used to create the shabby chic furniture look. These paints are high performing and manufactured by companies that only produce healthy products – not your huge companies with a “zero VOC” or “low VOC” product on the side. Pricing is right too!