If it's better for the planet, chances are it's better for us too. That goes for everything from not using plastic water bottles to riding bikes instead of driving in cars. That's why living environmentally is not about being deprived but about being healthier.
This weekend, I needed to paint the bathroom, so I thought I'd let you in on the fact that eco-paints, which are better for the planet, are way better for me to have in my house, and more importantly, way better for my little girl.
Traditional household paints contain many chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are a large group of carbon-based chemicals that are volatile, meaning that they like to exist as a gas. The type and amount of VOCs in a household paint generally varies with the type and brand of paint, but traditional household paints generally contain many VOCs, including benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. Some of these VOCs have been linked in scientific studies to bad health outcomes, including eye, nose and throat irritation, nauseau, headaches, and even cancer.
Because VOCs are volatile, they can “off-gas” from the walls into the air as the paint is applied or as it dries. This, combined with the fact that the paint is usually applied to a large area, can cause people living or spending time in these freshly painted homes to have exposures to VOCs that are much greater than normal – as much as 1000 times greater. These potentially large exposures – and resulting smells, headaches, and other potential health effects -- cause many (including you!) to look for lower VOC or chemical-free paints.
I went for a no VOC paint from Benjamin Moore. Anybody got any better ideas?
Meanwhile, here's a list, also from Treehugger, of low and no VOC paints:
AFM (American Formulating and Manufacturing)
Benjamin Moore & Co. (Pristine® Eco-Spec® )
Duron Paints and Wallcoverings (Genesis Odor-Free products)
ICI Dulux Paints
Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company