September 15th, 2010

No VOC and Low VOC Paint-A Simple and Healthy Way to Improve Your Home

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This is part of the Healthy Child  Blog Carnival, Safe House, focusing on healthy home improvements – an effort by Healthy Child Healthy World to help inspire a movement to protect children from harmful chemicals.

As summer transitions to fall  I am hit with the cleaning, reorganizing and redecorating bug. My living space is not spotless and has not been completely renovated-but the itch to redo and renew is in the air.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Nicki Varkevisser

A fresh coat of paint is a simple way to transform a space with minimal effort. There are so many colors and brands out there to lend a hand with a quick face-lift for any room.

Most conventional paints contain high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), which emit a breathable gas when slapped on your walls. VOC’s are not your friend. Once released, down goes the air quality in your home and headaches, nausea and dizziness can occur.   Some VOC’s are greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming. Long term exposures to the fumes have been linked to a number of disorders including cancer, kidney disease and liver damage.

Good thing there are plenty of eco-friendly paint alternatives that are safe for you and the environment.  Consider choosing a low VOC or no VOC paint that is free of nasty fumes.  Even more good news: most major paint companies are now making low VOC or no VOC paints and they are usually reasonably priced (a bit higher than conventional paint).

My bedroom was recently painted using Benjamin Moore Natura zero VOC paint.  I was amazed at the lack of strong smell-there was a scent but it was very minimal. I didn’t think twice about sleeping in the room that very night.  It is pretty difficult to do that with conventional paint,  which releases those incredibly strong fumes.

I decided to ask an expert her thoughts on zero VOC paints-since my experience was limited.  Kimberly Bee, of Kimberly Bee Design, has been a professional interior designer on projects throughout the country for over 20 years.  Kimberly has personally used Benjamin Moore Natura no VOC paints in her own home and says “that it is virtually odorless and available in all of the Benjamin Moore colors; truly a significant achievement in creating eco-friendly paint that doesn’t compromise aesthetics!”

So next time you decide to paint, low VOC and zero VOC paints are the way to go.

Two companies I would use:

Benjamin Moore Natura Paint

  • Virtually odorless
  • Zero-VOC in both the base and the colorant
  • Quick dry time: 30 minutes to dry to the touch, 1-hour to re-coat
  • 100% Acrylic Latex

Mythic Paint

  • This low odor, zero toxicity paint from Mythic Paint is a non-toxic, ultra low odor paint that provides the durability and coverage you expect from a premium paint without the off-gassing VOC’s and cancer-causing toxins that emit years after drying.

Please note: there are other companies that make no VOC and low VOC paints. These happen to be the two that I am most familiar with.

PAINT BUYING TIP: Double check your paint-zero VOC paint can turn into VOC filled paint when tint/color is added.

Zero VOC paint is such a simple way to improve your living space.  Let me know if you have tried paint without VOC’s and what you found.


Interior Paint What to Look For

An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality

4 Responses to “No VOC and Low VOC Paint-A Simple and Healthy Way to Improve Your Home”

  1. I’m so glad these options are now so widespread. If I ever paint, I will definitely choose no-VOC.

  2. Hi Betsy-I have used it several times and it works really well-without the fumes.

  3. […] No VOC and Low VOC Paint-A Simple and Healthy Way to Improve Your Home is my contribution to this great resource for anyone who is thinking about remodeling their living space. […]

  4. […] […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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