the painted surface
As concern for the environment and indoor air quality has grown, the paint industry has responded. In an effort to improve air quality in the home or office and reduce damage to the atmosphere paint manufacturers are busy developing paints low in VOC content. VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds are carbon containing chemical compounds that evaporate, causing damage to the ozone layer. The health of some people may also be damaged by VOCs.
The EPA says,
“The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect. As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics. At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.”
Some of the thousands of products containing VOCs include gasoline, mineral spirits, alcohol and paint. Both water and oil-based paints can contain VOCs, with the oil-based paints having higher levels. Manufacturers now sell paint with reduced and sometimes zero levels of VOCs. Two examples are: Sherwin-Williams Harmony Interior Latex Coating and Benjamin Moore Waterborne Satin Impervo. Other paints are available with lowered VOCs. Check your local paint dealer for more information concerning their specific products.
When painting, we encourage users to maintain a high level of indoor air quality by following these tips;
- Use paint according to the manufacturer's directions.
- Store paint in tightly closed containers in ventilated spaces. Buy quantities you will use soon.
- Leftover paint you never plan to use should be taken to a waste disposal site approved for paint, solvents and chemicals.
- Use exhaust fans to improve ventilation during painting.
- Specific health problems may require you to be away until the paint fumes have completely exhausted the space and the paint has cured.
Your health should always come first. If there are any concerns, err on the side of caution. Today's paint is safe when used appropriately and according to the directions of the manufacturers. Paints are becoming even safer as companies re-formulate their products to provide consumers and the environment a safe, friendly alternative.
More helpful painting tips, techniques and how-to articles can be found by following these links.
How To Paint a Room ◊ How To Paint a Stairway ◊ How To Paint a Two-Story Room ◊ How To Choose Colors ◊ Six Step Color Choice ◊ Popular Color Ideas ◊ How To Choose Paint ◊ Tools ◊ How To Caulk ◊ How To Patch a Hole ◊ How To Patch a Crack ◊ How To Cut In a Wall or Ceiling ◊ How To Roll a Wall or Ceiling ◊ How To Paint Woodwork ◊ How To Paint a Window ◊ How To Paint Baseboard ◊ How To Paint a Door ◊ How To Paint Crown Moulding ◊ How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets ◊ How To Choose a Premium Paintbrush ◊ How To Paint a MDF Bookcase ◊ How To Paint Aluminum or Vinyl Siding ◊ How To Paint Over Faux Finishes ◊ How To Use Magnetic Paint ◊ How To Use FrogTape ◊ How To Paint Repair Water Damaged Drywall ◊ Hiring a Contractor ◊ Paint Stripper Safety ◊ Painting Louvered Shutters ◊ 2013 Color Trends ◊ Choosing Front Door Colors