In our modern day world, chemical exposure can be lurking anywhere. Even with the progress green building concepts and products have made, it requires time and education for them to be accepted and implemented into everyday use. For most individuals, the idea of harmful chemical exposure in everyday consumables is hard to fathom. Moreover, if someone has used or been exposed to a known harmful product, their desire is to believe that they are not susceptible to the effects. Unfortunately, there are thousands of individuals who are diagnosed with illnesses that are a result of exposure to harmful chemicals and products.
A very common household chemical exposure is from interior and exterior house paint containing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). The chemicals found in standard paint emitting these VOCs are drying agents, solvents, and antifreeze among other ingredients. Even under normal conditions, these compounds have high enough vapor to enter our air and atmospheric environment. Emissions of VOCs in the atmosphere contribute to greenhouse gases. In fact, The Paint Quality Institute estimates that the VOCs in traditional paints make up 10% of the ozone depleting substances in the U.S. The VOCs in household paint are not just a danger when initially painting – up to half of the VOCs will continue to be released for up to six years after drying!
For the consumer, these VOCs are usually reported as grams per liter on the paint containers, with the average gallon of paint containing at least 150 grams of VOC per liter. Some paint brands will state their product is LOW VOC, but please beware! The paint base may qualify as low VOC, but once tint is added the VOC level often surpasses the recommended low VOC level of 50 grams per liter. In addition, average flat base paint often qualifies as low VOC, but if you choose Satin, Semi-Gloss or Gloss sheen the VOC level can increase as well. Compound this equation with an extremely dark color mixed in a Gloss base paint and the VOC levels can be dangerously high.
Health issues related to VOCs in paint include asthma, headaches, dizziness, swelling of the lymph nodes, dry eye syndrome, respiratory illnesses, and in general “sick building syndrome”. There are cases of liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage caused by high exposure to chemicals containing VOCs. The chemicals in paint does not affect everyone in the same way, but they can be a real and present danger to you and to your family.
I would like to provide you with a real life situation. Some health care professionals recommend to patients when completing drug and alcohol rehabilitation to paint their rooms in non VOC paints
in an effort to create a fresh living environment. The realization is that the VOC in standard paint will provide enough of a chemical “high” to cause the patient to relapse. If standard VOC paint can affect a person to this degree, we must accept the harmful effectsof these chemicals.
Another reason we are concerned with getting the word out is often when a family is expecting a new child one of the first things they want to do is repaint the new baby’s room. The VOC’s will be release upon painting, but also continue to be emitted for up to 6 years – about the time you may be ready to repaint for the older child! This exposes the mother, unborn child and later the little baby to these harmful chemicals. We are happy to tell you that there are alternatives!
In recent years there has been an emergence of No VOC paints offerings. These paint lines, such as Mythic Paint, contain NO VOC in all sheen base paints and in all tinting products. This means that no matter what type of color, sheen, or coverage, the paint contains NO Volatile Organic Compounds. In addition to NO VOC, Mythic Paint contains no carcinogens, and no toxins. What a relief it is to know that you can protect your family and the environment with a chemical friendly product and still achieve the same results.
If you would like additional information on Mythic Paint Non-Toxic Paint and painting techniques, please see the Mythic paint website at www.mythicpaint.com or the Central Texas retail outlet Zinger Hardware at 512-381-8111 or www.zingerhardware.com.