Low VOC Paint
What exactly is low Voc paint?
Often called no VOC paint, or non-toxic paint, this type of paint is becoming increasingly popular in the light of the various health issues that traditional paint can cause.
During the process of evaporation and curing of paint, solvents (chemicals) are released into the air. This is often called “outgassing”. Of course, if this is in your home, then your family members are breathing these toxins.
These volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, affect the atmosphere with effects ranging from depletion of the ozone layer, smog, and global weather changes.
More and more people are up in arms about both these atmospheric changes as well as the human results of these chemicals released into our homes, schools and offices.
So why aren't all paints manufactured today low VOC paint?
Some painting professionals believe that low or no VOC paint doesn’t perform to the same standards as the stuff with solvents. They complain that more coats are required to cover the same area, and that it may not last as long as the “standard” types of paint.
But with VOCs being linked to headaches, dizziness, stomach upset, and respiratory issues, including asthma, the public is demanding change and the paint industry will not be able to hide behind their “coats” any longer. (See new construction materials for my personal story about toxins and illness.)
What about latex paint?
Some claim that latex paints can be a solution. They are water based, with a resin made from acrylic that acts as a binder. So besides lacking VOCs, there are other advantages to a water based product – it is easily washable, and it has superior opacity (the ability to completely hide a previous color).
Latex paint is not suitable for painting iron, as it may cause premature rusting. But for most normal applications, it has advantages, and newer and better innovative solutions are being created all around us.
Green Paint - or Non Toxic Paint
The term “green paint” or non toxic paint, not only refers to the health effects after application, but the actual manufacture of the paint itself. For instance, titanium dioxide is in wide use, admired for its whiteness and its super hiding powers.
However, this is manufactured by processes that result in diluted Sulphuric acid, which is then dispersed into the ocean. Not only this, but any substances dissolved into that acid are also dumped into our sea.
And that’s not all. When titanium dioxide is used as an exterior coating, it actually reacts to the sunlight and creates smog. And it’s little known that the International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC), has classified this substance as a Group 2B carcinogen, meaning it likely is an agent that has the potential to promote cancer in human beings. Despite all of this knowledge, titanium dioxide is still used widely.
Since we’ve clearly seen the negative and serious environmental and health damage that paint can have, both through its manufacture and its subsequent use, non toxic paints are only going to increase in popularity, and the industry is going to continue to have to make changes in order to meet the needs of so many people.
This will have no small impact on the industry, and it will eventually cause us to change the way we look at our buckets of colorful paint.
Low VOC paint is the way to go.
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