Non Toxic Paint Guide - How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Paint

Non Toxic Paint Guide - How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Paint

Many things come in eco-friendly versions these days, and paint manufacturers have jumped on the trend (although it’s here to stay, so it’s not really a trend) and come out with their own low VOC indoor paints. The trick is, with so many different types available, how do you know where to begin? Here are a few commonly asked questions and their answers:

What Does VOC Mean?

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. These are found in many different types of interior and exterior paints, and what makes standard paint smell like it does. As the paint dries, these compounds are released into the air. Breathing them in can be harmful, which is why many people prefer low VOC paints

Is There a Difference on How Many VOCs Are in Various Types of Paint?

Yes. Flat interior paints that bear an official certification seal have no more than 250 grams per liter, unless you live in the state of California, where the amount must be under 100 grams per liter. Non-flat interior paints, like those with a gloss or semi-gloss finish, must have no more than 380 grams per liter. Once again, California has stricter standards, and the low non-flat VOC paints sold there must have less than 150 grams per liter of these harmful compounds.

What Type of Certification Seals Should I Look For?

There are three important ones to keep an eye out for when buying interior paint: Scientific Certification Systems, Green Seal and GreenGuard. All of these have their own rigorous standards that low VOC paints must adhere to. If you see one or more of these seals on the paint can, then you can rest assured that the paint you’re buying is environmentally friendly.

Look for other ingredients. In order to make up for the lack of VOCs, yet have paint that is still effective at covering walls, manufacturers add in additional ingredients like clay, minerals and plant pigments.