Spring is in the air and we all are starting to come out of our winter hibernation with anticipation of enjoying the outdoors with long sunny warm days and cool nights. We are rejuvenated, changing over our winter clothes to warmer weather ones and wanting to spruce up our homes by redecorating and cleaning up, in other words “Spring Cleaning”…right?
Well, if you are so inspired, one of the things you might be considering in redecorating and cleaning up is applying a new fresh coat of paint to your interior walls to beautify your place of residence. Choosing the right color can be an arduous task making sure the right color matches your furnishings, your style and your character. But what is more important in choosing the right paint is its composition.
Traditionally wall paint, and most still do, contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) made up of toxic petroleum based solvents, plasticizers, adhesives, hardeners, pigments, biocides and drying accelerators. These compounds give off greenhouse gases that can affect your respiratory, metabolic and other health disorders. The VOC compounds keep the paint in liquid form but when applied and dry, dissipate harmful pollutants into the air. And they have been known to disperse these pollutants well after the paint has been freshly applied, even years after application.
In considering what paint to use, you should consider more environmentally friendly paints that are formulated with less toxic materials. It is easy to tell the difference between the toxic paints and the “green” paints. Just use your nose. The conventional paints have that distinctive solvent or ‘paint” smell. Eco paints have very little if any odor at all.
Look for a certified green paint. They contain low or no VOC solvents, VOC colorants, no vinyl or plasticizers and no toxic biocides. There are paints on the market that are formulated with clay, water, milk casein, natural latex, plant oils and resins (soy and sunflower), plant and mineral pigments and essential oils. And they come in a wide variety of colors (image above are soy based paints) that will satisfy your decorating enthusiasm.
Applying these no VOC paints can certainly help to maintain your health (especially children) and the health of the atmosphere around you. To help you determine which paint you should use, look for the environmental certification seal of independent testing labs such as Green Seal, Greenguard and Ecolabel that ensure the highest eco-friendly performance standards.