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Understanding No VOC Paint Solutions

Jul 30, 2008
So I have been hearing a lot about VOCs recently. And not one to shy away from a perfectly confusing acronym, I have been looking into this one and trying to figure out if it warrants all the attention that it's getting. And guess what? It does. Apparently VOCs are volatile organic compounds--you preferred the acronym, didn't you? VOCs can occur naturally--trees and cows are huge contributors of VOCs--but the ones that occur naturally can be handled naturally. Funny, isn't it? Where we get into trouble is when the VOC count gets way too high and when it's in your home.

Too many VOCs deplete the ozone layer and help create smog and other environmental dangers. Most problematic is when they are in your home where they can adversely affect your family and pets. Low air quality--the EPA says that indoor air can be up to 9 times worse for you than outside--is the main contributor to Sick Building Syndrome. Illnesses such as throat, nose and eye irritations, and even cancer are the results of Sick Building Syndrome and have been linked to VOC and toxins.

So what things contribute to low indoor air quality and what are the alternatives? Paints are one of the huge offenders. Paints and all things to do with paints such as thinners, varnishes and coatings, contain solvents. These solvents house VOCs and other toxins. Remember that new paint smell? Well, those are actually the toxins and VOCs releasing into the air and reducing the quality of your air. The Paint Quality Institute has estimated that the VOCs in traditional paints make up to 10 percent of ozone depleting substances in the United States.

In the last few years paint manufactures have become sensitive to the impact of their products on the health of the consumer and the environment. In an effort to become greener, paint manufacturers have begun work to remove some of the toxic ingredients in their traditional paints to create no VOC paints or low odor paints. Many of these manufacturers are simply creating paint as they are used to doing and then removing the toxins. This is great, but it often creates a less than brilliant product--so we are back to the old problem of do I choose a product that is good for me or is just a good product.

Fortunately, technology is beginning to catch up, and a few manufacturers are creating great paint that is not only super on the walls, but also safe for your family and the planet. A renewed interest in child safe paint (paint that doesn't contain fumes that will damage your kids basically) has resulted in completely revolutionized products that outperform toxic paints in durability, coverage and can come in any color. So, now you don't have to sacrifice performance for health. So, when you're ready to add a splash of something wonderful to your walls do some double-checking. Make sure that it is a no voc, low odor paint, and keep the great stuff on your walls and the toxins out of your home.
About the Author
Audrey Smith is a family safety advocate with a passion for no VOC paint . She is also educates the public about child safe paints and low odor paints .
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