Low VOC or No VOC?
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) describes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as emitted gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions. Some Health effects may include, but not limited to: Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system.
Low VOC paint is paint with reduced levels of volatile organic compounds. This paint is more environmentally friendly than traditional paints, in addition to being better for the health of people who work with it, although it's also harder on the wallet than conventional paints.
With a low VOC paint, the formulation of the paint has been changed to reduce its overall VOC content. In addition to making the paint more pleasant to work with because it does not smell as strong, this also reduces the health risks associated with exposure to VOCs.
Paints with no VOCs have no volatile organic compounds in them. But that's not to say they don't contain any harmful chemicals. In fact, sometimes the paint tinting process can add some VOCs. That said, these are still a great option.
When should you consider low or no VOC paint?
When you are pregnant, you have small children, or when you just want to make sure you are doing all that you can for your health and the environment.
Where to look for these paints?
BENJAMIN MOORE NATURA® PAINT – Offers premium performance in beautiful, vibrant colors. Natura® interior waterborne paint provides a durable, washable and fade-resistant finish. It goes on smoothly, cleans up easily, dries to the touch in 30 minutes, and can be recoated in only one hour. Natura® offers zero VOC’s in both the base and the colorants which is good for our environment. Odors from the resin system are removed by a specialized removing process.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS GREEN SURE® PAINT - minimizes the impact on the environment and delivers maximum performance. Green Sure® offers long-term durability and was designed and manufactured taking steps to reduce environmental impact and to meet or exceed the most stringent regulatory requirements. Green Sure® uses sustainable raw materials, like soy and sunflower oil in their paints. New techniques in their manufacturing processes have helped produce less waste and they have implemented energy efficient methods in their plants. Many of their coatings clean easily and to resist mold or mildew growth on the paint film thus helping to improve the indoor and outdoor environments.
For more info on Sherwin Williams Green Sure®Paint, please visit:
HOME DEPOT FRESHAIRE CHOICE® - The Freshaire Choice® paint contains no volatile organic compounds — commonly known as VOCs — harmful chemicals that contribute to poor air quality. Freshaire® is offered in 66 gorgeous colors that are pre-measured with the ColorFresh™ color delivery system. Freshaire Choice® paint can be purchased at Home Depot.
LOWES OLYMPIC PREMIUM ZERO VOC PAINT - Zero VOC Paint Base + Zero VOC Colorants = Infinite possibilities for a 100% Green Home. Olympic Premium Paint in any color is zero VOC so you can breathe easy and contribute to the health of your home and the environment.
For more information on Lowes Olympic Premium® paint, please visit:
or The Lowes Website and search for Olympic Premium