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What You Need to Know About Paints with VOCs

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Nursery paint

As technology improves and research on chemicals and the environment continues, we’re becoming more aware of the compounds and chemicals that are present in our everyday lives. For example, throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, lead based paint began to be phased out after studies and research found that it was harmful to humans. Today, the focus is on VOC (volatile organic compounds) and propylene glycol or propylene glycol ethers (PGE). Whether you’re painting a porch or a child’s bedroom, the health effects from VOCs and PGE’s can be significant. See if you can get low VOC paint and if you’re painting a child’s room, do some research on what paint is considered safe for baby furniture or nursery walls. Let’s discuss why you should avoid paints with VOCs, where to find non toxic paints, and the benefits of being conscious about what types of paints you’re using in your home.

Why Should I Stay Away From Paints With VOCs and be Mindful of PGEs?
Whether painting a porch or a bedroom, CBC marketplace reports that VOC levels that are over 500 ppb could be problematic for those who have sensitivities to chemicals. It’s also been indicated that cognitive scores could be impacted by high levels of VOCs, as shown by a recent study by the TIEQ lab at the Syracuse Center of Excellence. In this study, test participants spent six full work days in an environmentally-controlled office space, where VOC levels were decreased to 50 micrograms per cubic meter and 40 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air per person. The averages showed that cognitive scores were over 100% higher than in traditional work areas.

Some organics can also be two to five times higher indoors than outdoors, according to studies, and they are responsible for several health issues. In terms of PGEs, Sweden’s Dampness in Buildings and Health study, it was shown that kids who had PGE concentrations in the top 25% of the study in their bedrooms had a 100% higher chance of having asthma, 150% higher chance of eczema, and 320% higher chance of rhinitis. Furthermore, children who had a variety of allergic symptoms and were exposed to PGEs had a doubled likelihood of getting more allergic sensitivities.

Where Can I Get Non Toxic Paints?

Non-toxic paints are now carried by most home improvement stores or paint stores, as the demand been steadily increasing. Look for paints that have raw ingredients, such as soy or sunflower oil and other food-grade ingredients. Many will also sport “No VOC” labels on their cans. Though you should be trying to steer clear of non toxic paints whether they’re indoor or outdoor paints (such as painting a porch), it’s particularly crucial if you’re looking at painting interior spaces, especially children’s rooms.

Non toxic paints have become attractive and easy to apply in recent years, so you shouldn’t be worried about limited options.

Why Should I Be Aware of What Paints I Use in My Home?

The materials you have in your home can affect your health over the long-term. Consider how much time you spend in your house and the fluctuations in temperature that can help release toxins or other chemicals that you breathe in on a regular basis.

VOCs can cause nausea and dizziness and in worst-case scenarios, damage to the heart, lung, and kidneys and cancer. They can also impact our outdoor air, with oil-based paints being the worst offenders.

Other toxic paints can still be present in the air five years after application and have the potential to seep into the groundwater as well. So your choice of paint can have a much bigger impact on others and the environment, as well as yourself and your family.

Next time you’re painting a porch or looking to change up your interior paint scheme, be mindful about what type of paints you’re using. It’s important for not just your health, but the health of others, and even the world!

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