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The air in our homes is riddled with airborne contaminants. Things like carpeting, wood finishes, and glues and adhesives, all emit small amounts of potentially dangerous chemicals into the air. Paint, unfortunately, is one of the top contributors of this type of indoor air pollution, and can emit contaminants for years after application. Fortunately, there is a new generation of paints that are low VOC, no VOC, or all natural, and that reduce the indoor pollution from your interior paint to almost nothing.
What's a VOC?
Close your eyes and try to conjure up that "new paint smell." Got it? What you're smelling are VOCs. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound, and refers any of the compounds traditionally added to paint to enhance the paint's color, spreadability, adhesiveness, and resistance to fungus and insects. Unfortunately, many of these compounds are released into the air at room temperature, polluting your indoor air and causing major problems for those with chemical sensitivities, allergies, and respiratory illnesses. While VOCs used to be necessary to make paint, new technology has rendered them less and less essential. The result is the next generation of painting products.
All-Natural, No VOC, and Low VOC Paint
As the paint industry has responded to public demand for less polluting indoor paints, three main products have hit the shelves. Those products are all natural, no VOC, and low VOC paint. Each product contains a different level of VOCs, and has to meet a certain set of standards set by the EPA in order to claim the label. Here's a quick breakdown of each, so you can choose the best product for you.
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Low VOC Paint is Eco-Friendly in More Ways than One
Besides providing better indoor air quality for your home, low VOC, no VOC, and all natural paint is also much easier to dispose of. Traditional paints should never be thrown in the trash or dumped out on the ground, since they can harm wildlife and contaminate soil and water sources. In fact, even low VOC paints should be taken to your local household hazardous waste collection center for disposal. No VOC and all natural paints provide little or no threat to environment, however, and can be disposed of with the rest of your household trash.
If you're interested in paint with low or no VOC content for your home, talk to a paint supplier or painter about which paint is going to best for you. With you and your family's health at stake, you'd be crazy not to look into the benefits of low VOC paint.