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Advantages of Eco Friendly Paint

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When redecorating your home you may have purchased new furniture and thought you need a few accent walls to match the color scheme. When you are looking for just the right color and brand just keep in mind not all paint is created equally. There are real advantages of eco friendly paint:

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) puts paint on their top-five list of environmental hazards. Even after the paint dries or finishes, it continues to release petroleum-based solvents. Not to mention the CO2 emissions from the paints during the manufacturing process highly contributes to petrochemical smog. Disposing of paint is also a major environmental concern.  Overall, from production to application, it’s bad news for your health and our earth.

Recently I moved to a new apartment complex and as I was walking my dog around the corridors one day I noticed a sign that sort of rubbed me the wrong way. It was a warning sign posted on the side of one of the buildings. It states “Warning: This area contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Also there was a web address to investigate what types of chemicals may be included.

When I looked up prop 65, I found that for apartment buildings more specifically the sign may mean that pesticides are used in the nearby landscaping or the building materials contained toxic chemicals. The other possibility is lead from the paint that was applied. This was quite alarming to me and made me wonder if every complex I’ve lived in had the same levels of toxicity but just didn’t advertise it.

The next place I choose to rent I plan to do a little more investigating in regards to this topic before moving in. I will likely choose a more eco-friendly complex and question management on what kinds of paints, materials, and pesticides are used and if they implement “green practices” on their grounds.

Businesses and apartment buildings should consider the advantages of eco friendly paints because there is a market out there of people that care to live in a toxic-free environment…Like ME!

Conventional Paint Risk Factors

Most conventional paints in the market today are processed using harmful chemicals usually called VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. These chemicals produce fumes, which can cause very serious health problems such as emesis and lung cancer, when exposed for prolonged periods. You usually smell these fumes during the painting process and even long after they are dry.

Eco friendly paints should be considered especially for those who handle paint often. The World Health Organization has found that there are a 40% of professional decorators who develop lung cancer after prolonged exposure to the conventional paint.

A majority of eco paints cost 10 – 25 percent more than ordinary paints, but it is a small price to pay to spare damage to your health and the environment.

Besides being earth friendly, most eco paints are odorless or smell much less than conventional paints. These low VOC paints are perfect to be used on homes or when repainting a child’s or infants room. Most of the premium eco paints can be applied with one coat only which can save and energy in painting too.

Another advantage of eco friendly paint eco is that most types exceed the requirements for the best quality paints such as paint coverage, paint color retention, elongation, viscosity, spread capabilities, elasticity and tensile strength. The premium types may cost a little more but definitely surpass paint qualities that conventional paints have.

So if you want to do a little painting yourself you now know the eco choice is the obvious better choice. A common mistake people make when assessing a painting project is they overestimate how much paint they are going to need and ends up being wasted. Try to make an accurate guess and if you are unsure than always buy less to avoid having to dispose of the extra materials.

Before purchasing your eco paint make sure to check on the labels or ask for a local paint expert on what the best choice would be for you for the type of job you are working on. There should be a good number of displays available in the local hardware store on brand names of eco friendly paint options. Also, there are usually technical data sheets provided for customers to look at; detailing how safe the paint is. By purchasing eco friendly paint, you are making an important step towards wellness for yourself, your family and the earth.

Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by Angie Tarantino, The Environmental Blog

Angie Tarantino
About Angie Tarantino (153 Posts)

Angie Tarantino is a contributor and part founder of The Environmental Blog. She covers animal rights, green tips and general green news topics She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Follow @EcoChic314


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3 Comments on “Advantages of Eco Friendly Paint

  1. I never considered that paint had the potential to be so dangerous, but I guess it’s one of those “hidden in plain sight” things, thank you for raising awareness about it.

  2. This is a great article that really highlights the dangers that humans put into the environment.  These dangers exist everywhere and are in pretty much everything.  Many people do not know the damage that they are doing to the environment and to themselves.  I think that businesses, including apartment complexes, would benefit not only from using eco-friendly paint, although it’s a good start, but also by employing other environmentally friendly techniques.  Some of these environmental techniques to look for include a recycling system, including recycling for paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass.  You can also look for a compost system; although it may sound gross and smelly, that is not always the case.  There are composters that food and natural materials can go into that are confined; they turn every couple of hours to get air to the compost materials and warm just enough to start bacterial growth that decomposes the organic materials. These don’t smell and speed up the process a lot; the material out of the composter can be used as soil and/or fertilizer around the property; this is organic, environmentally friendly and saves money because people don’t have to buy soil.  Also, many buildings are now getting roof top gardens that are not only pleasant but also conserve energy keeping the building warm in the winter and cool in summer.  Alternative energy sources such as solar panels would also be nice.  Definitely look for windows with double pained glass, which will also conserve energy and money.  Cleaning products also have many chemicals in them that can be very harmful for the environment.  Radon, a natural gas in the environment, is part of rocks in certain areas and can seep into your basement.  I would also look for carbon monoxide detectors, which can be a big problem.  By taking all of these things into account you are protecting yourself, others, and the environment. 

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