We are living in a world where industries are striving to become more environmentally friendly, and in 1996, federal Clean Air Act revisions forced paint manufacturers to act. Since then, these organizations have begun developing new solvent-free paint formulations that are kinder to the environment while still guaranteeing high-quality performance. The issue with the most commonly available paints lies in their list of ingredients, which includes:
- Volatile organic compounds are a class of chemicals that evaporate quickly at room temperature. The off-gas process of these paints can last for weeks and lead to a variety of health problems, as well as damage the environment. Oil-based paints may consist of up to 60 percent VOCs, which is why state and federal regulations concerning VOC content are getting stricter.
- Pigments: Some of the toxic chemicals in paint come from the substances used to color them. This means you should be looking for paint with all-natural pigments.Fungicides and biocides: Fungicides prevent the growth of mildew while biocides are used to preserve the shelf life of the paint; the trouble is that these are toxic substances that contaminate the air indoors and outdoors and can even seep into your underwater supply.
In an ideal world, you will be able to locate paints with low VOCs, natural pigments, and low amounts of biocides. At present, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a minimum requirement for low-VOC paints, but there are different limits around the world; the state of California even has its own specific ultra-low VOC limit.
Types of ‘Green’ Paint Available
- Low-VOC paint: Manufacturers such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams sell a wide range of low-VOC paints that meet even the most stringent eco-friendly criteria. The great thing about these paints is that you get the same high-quality finish but cause a lot less harm to the environment — and to your health!
- Plant and mineral paint: This is one of the latest natural paints on offer, which contains practically zero VOCs. In fact, natural paints are so safe that they can be used by a pregnant woman with the windows closed, something even zero-VOC paints cannot claim. Plant and mineral paints may need up to three coats, depending on the job, but they dry in as little as three hours.
- Milk paint: This is an unusual mix of cow and goat milk, clay, earth, and lime-based pigments. Its best use is on raw wood, as it provides a rustic look unmatched by other forms of paint. This type of paint ages well and doesn’t chip, actually becoming more lustrous over time.
- Clay paint: This paint type gives you a thicker finish, is durable, resistant to mold, and covers interior surfaces without the need of a primer. The downside of clay paint is that it can take up to two days to dry.
We have entered a new era in the painting industry, and now, if you wish to paint the interior or exterior of your home in an manner, there are dozens of options at your fingertips. Consult with a professional house painter like CBP of Arizona about which of these or others are the right one for your next paint job.