Paints add beauty and elegance to your house. However paints have negative impact to air quality because of presence of chemicals called Volatile Organic Compunds (VOCs) and other toxic components that evaporate into air at room temperature anc can cause a variety of health problems like nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract and more serious illnesses like heart, lung or kidney damage and even cause cancer.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are the fumes that you smell while you paint, and sometimes several days after. A VOC is an organic chemical that becomes a breathable gas at room temperature. Some examples are benzene, ethylene glycol, vinyl chloride and mercury.
VOCs in paint usually come from additives to the paint, such as fungicides, biocides, color, and spreadability agents. High levels of VOCs in paints can cause headaches, allergic reactions, and health problems in the very old, very young and in those with chronic illnesses.
Concerns about air pollution and hazardous waste have greatly reduced the use of oil-based paints, which can release high amounts of VOCs and contain toxic solvents. Alkyd-based paints and latex paints are much safer, but some still have high levels of VOCs.
Because of health and safety concerns, paint manufacturers around the country have made great strides in formulating paints that have no or low-VOCs and that provide excellent results.
Some older buildings, particularly if they are pre-1960, many have been painted in the past with a paint made with lead pigments. Special care is needed in the safe preparation and removal of these coatings.
The paints have to follow guidelines to get an EcoMark certification provided by BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) .
Low VOC or environment friendly paints are the solution for this problem. Low and zero VOC paints have little or no smog forming emissions. Selecting low VOC paints can bring a major improvement in home air quality compared to high VOC paints.
Since low VOC paints have lesser impact on air quality they are apt for schools, hospitals, workplaces and other buildings also.
They contribute to positive environment and economic effects.
The low VOC paints are also known as Eco-Paints and are produced from fewer than 250 chemical components and more than 98 % of these chemicals are naturally derived from plant sources and minerals.
Sometimes simply washing walls and/or using little touch up can make them appear new. When it is necessary to paint use low VOC or no toxic products and water based paints. This will eliminate the need of toxic elements for cleanup.
A more durable paint is less expensive in the long run. A 10-year durable paint may cost more than a 5 year-durable paint but there are other costs for repainting like labour which should be considered while selecting a paint.
Proper preparation is also critical for durable paint application. All surfaces must be clean and dust free, with any visible cracks, peelings or blisters removed.
If there is an existing paint, determine what it is and appropriately prepare the next coat. Make sure to use primers and top coats that are compatible.
TYPES OF NON-VOC PAINTS
Natural Paints and Finishes
These are paints made from natural ingrdients like water, plant oils, resins, plant dyes, essential oils, natural minerals like clay, chalk and talcum , milk casein, natural latex, bees, wax, earth and natural dyes. Water based paints give almost no smell. These paints are not known to have any allergies and are considered to be safest.
Paints with 5gm/l or less VOC are called zero VOC paints.
Low VOC paints, finishes and varnishes use water as a carrier unlike petroleum based solvents. So the harmful emissions are less. Low VOC paints emit an order till dry and if you are sensitive then you should not choose any point with VOC greater than 25 gm/l.