Another thing to be cautious of is the term Low-Odor. Some manufacturers feel that if they can keep it from smelling, then people will think it is a better, healthier paint. This is far from true. Often times, these can be even more toxic then a standard paint because it is possible to add additional chemicals into the paint that will restrict the VOC’s from off gassing quickly and allow them to dissipate slowly over time. Many of these chemicals are highly carcinogenic and should be considered a red flag before you buy.
We spent a great deal of time talking about VOC’s and Exempt solvents but there is more to paint that you should be aware of and that is Hazardous Air Pollutants. HAP’s are known human carcinogens that are often found in traditional paints and are required to be disclosed on a manufacturers MSDS. A MSDS is a Material Safety Data Sheet and is a requirement for any product that uses chemicals, even makeup, household cleaners and adhesives. I would encourage you to read these prior to buying any product. The only challenge is that many companies will list HAP’s as ‘trade secrets’ which means they don’t need to disclose them of the MSDS. Just just be cautious and take the MSDS with a grain of salt.
So what can you do when buying paint… Lets recap.
- Look for a paint that is Zero-VOC paint (there is no reason to use low-VOC paints when Zero-VOC paints are readily available.
- Look for a paint with High % solids by Volume for better durability and better coverage.
- Before you buy, ask if they use Zero-VOC pigments (you will get a strange look from the clerk if they don’t know what you are talking about, in that case, the answer is no).
- Check the MSDS sheet to verify if there are any HAP’s.
- Regardless, paint in a well ventilated room.
- Look for Greenguard for Children’s and Schools Certification. They test for many of these requirements and are by far the best standard available. There is also a GreenWise Certification that is good as well.
So, i know you are asking, what did i paint my house with? Well i have used a wide array of paints but the main ones used in my house have been:
- American Pride/Mythic – Same paint, different pricing… Look for American Pride and save some money.
- DuraSoy One- An amazing Soy based paint with recycled content and over 60% solids. it is the consistency of yogurt, interior and exterior and is completely hydrophobic so you can use it wet locations as well.
- AFM Safecoat Naturals collection – Much more expensive but overall a great paint.
My first choice is always DuraSoy One. A less expensive line that is of the highest quality, highest durability, Zero-VOC, No HAP’s, no exempt Solvents and is locally made.
I hope this helps you discover a healthier line of paint for your next project.