The Dangers of That Fresh Paint Smell

The Dangers of That Fresh Paint Smell

Every time you paint a room in your home, do you experience headaches, a stuffy nose, or worse? It seems obvious that those paint fumes are the cause, but have you ever stopped to wonder if that new paint smell is actually dangerous?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 40-65 percent of all interior paints contain some level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and this can result in all kinds of health concerns ranging from a simple headache to damage to the central nervous system.

It is time to take the VOCs in paint more seriously. Before you begin your next home renovation project, be sure that you understand the safety hazards of that fresh paint smell.

Why Does Paint Contain VOCs and What Dangers Do They Pose?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs for short) have been used in paint products for decades, and for a good reason: they help keep the ingredients (including the pigment) in the paint in a liquid state. This makes using it much easier — and makes it much nicer looking.

The trouble is that VOCs begin to off-gas as the paint dries. It is actually this chemical off-gassing that gives the room that new paint smell. And the longer that smell lasts, the more gasses are leached into your air.

Unfortunately, even months after your renovation project is complete, dangerous gasses may be emitted into your home. This can result in all kinds of health problems including respiratory issues, asthma, neurological problems, liver and kidney disease, and in the worst cases, cancer.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs for short) have been used in paint products for decades, and for a good reason: they help keep the ingredients (including the pigment) in the paint in a liquid state.

Low VOC vs. Zero VOC Paints

The time is now to make a change and create a safer environment in your home. So, the next time you plan a painting project, insist on using low or no-VOC paints. Available from most manufacturers, these alternatives are just as beautiful and easy to use as standard VOC-laden varieties. But, be warned — just because the label says low-VOC doesn’t mean there aren’t any (or many) in the product. The word “low” only means that that paint product has fewer VOCs than standard paint.

A zero-VOC paint may still contain some VOC (and can still off-gas) but will have less than five grams of VOC per liter, which is much safer for your family. Still, it is important to know that it is not completely VOC free.

Non-Toxic Natural Paints

Natural paints are generally void of VOCs since they are made using plant, animal or mineral bases. For instance, a paint made from clay, chalk, mineral dyes or natural latex and beeswax won’t off-gas any VOCs because it is made using more natural ingredients.

Look for the Green Seal Certification for Safety

If you are looking for the safest paints for your home, be sure to choose brands that feature the Green Seal Certification. This means that it contains less than 50 grams of VOC (in flat paint) or less than 150 grams of VOC (non-flat paints). While not necessarily VOC free, these certified paints do contain less than half of the VOCs allowable by federal law.  Plus, Green Seal prevents the use of dozens of other dangerous chemicals in their certified products.

Choose East Cobb’s Remodeling Experts

Be sure that your next home renovation project doesn’t jeopardize your family’s safety. At Quality Craftsmen, we are proud to be Earthcraft builders and trained Certified Green Professionals. We have been helping families through out the East Cobb area with renovations ranging from home remodeling projects to home additions and custom home building. As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, we only use the safest materials for the changing needs of your family. Call us today to find out more.

Ready for a home update? Contact us today!

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