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Painting and paint fumes can expose you to many dangerous
chemicals. The type and amount you’re exposed to depends on the kind of paint
you use and how you apply it.
So why does paint smell so bad? Well, turning a liquid to a solid requires evaporation. And some chemicals that evaporate from your paint, especially the solvents, smell bad (and are really bad for your health).
Organic substances that evaporate easily are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). And your average can of interior latex wall paint contains high levels of VOCs, over 200 grams per litre.
Low And Zero VOC Paint
Low VOC paints may still contain solvents that release cancer-causing VOCs. And the VOCs released in low VOC paint often include endocrine disrupting phthalates. For example, low-VOC waterproofing paint often contains butyl benzyl phthalate, an endocrine disruptor and possible carcinogen.
Zero VOC paints are one of the best options if you want to avoid paint fumes when your painting your walls. Just remember, they still may contain toxic ingredients.
Natural Paint Options
The least toxic type of paints are made from natural raw ingredients like water, plant oils and resins, plant dyes and essential oils; natural minerals like clay, chalk and talcum; milk casein, natural latex, bees' wax, earth and mineral dyes.
Several companies make natural paints. Here are two that have been around for years.
Green Planet Paints offer natural paints for interiors based on plants and minerals. Ingredients - Water, soy resin, marble dust, clay, encapsulated titanium dioxide, diatomaceous earth, alumino-silicates, soy lecithin. Soy-based
The Real Milk Paint Company - non-toxic paint made with milk protein, lime, clay and earth pigments.
Less Toxic Specialty Paints
Rust Inhibitor for Metal AFM SafeCoat, MetalCoat Metal Primer
Lacquer SafeCoat Acrylacq