Eco Paints – Add some color to your life
Every once in a while, there is a feeling and a desire to refresh your surrounding environment, your home, isn’t it? Especially now with the new year and everything around is already more vivid… and more colourful! So, whether you like playing with colours or not and no matter how you want to update your home, it is almost certain that you will end up needing some paint, as well. But before going any further, here some good news and some bad news regarding that!
The bad news is that most paints available on the market can have really harmful effects towards the environment and quite some toxic effects towards your health, too. Of course, most paint manufacturers will not warn you about this, but most of their products contain some dangerous, potentially carcinogenic chemicals that are released into the air you breathe when paint is applied.
These chemicals affect and alter the ozone layer, contributing to the environmental pollution, but even if you are not so concerned about being eco-friendly, you should be concerned about the potential harmful effects these products might have on your own health and your family’s health.
The good news is that another niche in the paint industry has developed and it produces eco-friendly paints and related products. Also known as low level VOC paints, these products have a key quality that separates them from traditional paints: their formulas are mostly water-based, so they have very low levels of the toxic chemicals used for standard paints. To make things a little clearer here are the answers for a few basic questions that you might have at this moment:
How can paint be harmful?
Traditional paint is made from several compounds that you would rather not have anywhere near your home if you knew the risks these substances put you and your family at. In order to obtain the right texture, pigment and overall characteristic of the paint, manufacturers use materials such as formaldehyde, heavy metals and VOC.
These are volatile compounds that everybody who has used paint at least once in their lives has had contact with. The headache that you get from using paint in an area that is not well enough ventilated is just the least harmful way in which these substances can affect you. In fact, their side effects can range from nausea and allergies to heart diseases and even cancer. And this is only the way your health might be affected, not to mention that the same pollutants are also released into the atmosphere and contribute a great deal to environmental pollution, as well.
What does VOC stand for?
It seems that the greatest threats to your health are the VOCs found in traditional paints. “VOC” stands for “organic volatile compounds”. These are some chemicals based on carbon which evaporate very easily when released. It is true that they are mostly released during the application of paint and while the paint is still wet, but it is a fact that, even if at a lower rate, VOCs continue to be released up to five years after the paint has dried. So, this might be an important aspect to consider when choosing the paint for your home.
Why should you choose low level VOC paints?
Now, this pretty much sounds like a rhetorical question, doesn’t it? Low level VOC paints, or eco-paints do exist on the market and the main difference between these products and traditional paints is that they are not based on substances that will harm the environment or, even more importantly, your own health. As strange as it may sound, indoor pollution is a real and a stringent issue.
You may try your best to keep your home clean and create a healthy indoor environment, especially for children, but
most of the time indoor pollution can be at higher rates that outdoor pollution. This happens, mainly, because of poor or even lack of air ventilation combined with the chemicals that most household products are based on. It is impossible to name one single most important source for indoor pollution, but it is certain that traditional paints and any other paint related products are on one of the top places regarding this issue.
There used to be a concern that, due to their limited use of certain chemical compounds, the low level VOC paints are of inferior quality and also offer a limited range of colors to choose from. This might have been somehow true when they first appeared on the market, but certainly not anymore. These environmentally friendly paints can be found in any specialized store, or even online. You can choose the exact pigment and color you want and their resistance proved to the same as traditional paints’ resistance, if not even superior to it. And they are not just indoor paints – you can also find high quality eco-paints for outdoors, as well.
At this moment, low level VOC paints are still a minority on the paint market. However, more and more people who realized to what they have been exposed or to what they have exposed their families for years, as well as companies concerned with the protection of the environment, have started putting pressures to develop this branch of the paint industry more. There is no loss in terms of quality and range of color choice, but only gain in terms of a cleaner air and a less polluted environment. Still, to be completely honest, there would be one drawback in terms of price. But even so, if you put this in balance with your health and your loved ones’ health, you will certainly end up to the conclusion that it is worth paying a little more for this.
So, the best way to color your life in a way that is friendly both for your family and the environment is to look for the levels of VOCs in the paint you want to buy and make an informed and responsible choice!