Rick Perry, was once quoted as saying: “The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we inhabit are not only critical elements in the quality of life we enjoy – they are a reflection of the majesty of our Creator.” Given that the current governor of Texas and former candidate for US president cares for the environment so much, it’s about time we all have a serious look at what we can do to prevent air pollution in all its forms. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) acknowledges the fact that indoor air is even more dangerous than outdoor air. According to the EPA, indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air. This problem of indoor air pollution comes from paints or finishes applied to building surfaces that can lead to serious human health hazards.
Risk factors in conventional paint
Switching to eco-friendly paints can prevent you from inhaling potentially dangerous indoor pollutants. There are lots of conventional brand name paints that are made with dangerous chemicals called volatile organic compounds or (VOC’s). VOC’s normally produce fumes that may cause serious health issues if chronically exposed to them. These are those nasty smells and fumes that are recognizable when painting. Even after the paints are dry, fumes will continue to emit long after you think the coast is clear for conventional paints. These paints are a combination of mercury, ethylene glycol, vinyl chloride, and benzene, which are very toxic and should not be inhaled by people with weak or sensitive respiratory tracts such as the elderly, infants and children.
When you consider those who handle paint on a continual basis, eco-friendly paints should be considered. A major finding by the WHO (World Health Organization) found 40 percent of interior designers or decorators develop lung cancer because of prolonged exposure to toxic VOC fumes in conventional paints. There are lots of eco-friendly paints available in the market today which can sometimes be more cost effective than the your everyday standard paints (if you happen to catch them on sale). Although most so called eco-friendly paints range from ten to twenty-five percent extra over standard paint, the price is worth it when talking about inconvenient smells in your home, climate change, air quality, and other environmental issues.
Another great thing about using no-VOC or low-VOC paints are that most of those products are odorless which means that you can breathe a sigh of relief after freshly painting your walls. These low or no VOC paints can be put to good use when you want to remodel your children’s bedrooms. A great money saver with premium eco-friendly paint is the fact that some of these paints only need one coat, which saves you money and time.
Most earth friendly paints have an overall better quality in terms of elasticity and tensile strength, spread capabilities, elongation, paint color retention, and viscosity. Of course, premium paint will cost you more money but will make up for cost with quality in most cases.
The author John Tarantino is a green writer for theenvironmentalblog.org
These days, hospitals and schools are advised to paint with low or no VOC paints. This message should also extend to pregnant mothers-to-be who should not only consider the nutrients she inputs in her body but also the air quality introduced in the womb. One of the reasons why eco-paints are used in hospitals is because of the harmful chemicals that can directly affect an unborn child. Schools and other learning institutions should consider environmentally friendly paint as well because harmful chemicals emitted by conventional paints have been proven to affect a child’s underdeveloped respiratory system.
Before going out to purchase your eco-friendly paint, double check that label to make sure you are getting what you want. You can always ask the store clerk or the ‘local paint expert’ for advice. As you’ve probably seen before, there are always numerous displays with different brands of paint to choose from. And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for technical datasheets to get the details on the chemical profile of the paint you are curious about.