It is important that your home looks good, but it is also important that it is healthy. Pollutants exist in your home all over the place, in your cleaners, make up, and even your paint. One of the biggest contributors to your indoor air quality is VOCs.
What are VOCs?
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. These are carbon based compounds that emit gasses into the air. The compounds contribute to ozone pollution, which is bad for our environment, and also pollute the inside of your home, which is bad for your health. The EPA reports that VOCs can lead to adverse health effects like eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, allergies and may even contribute to damage in your liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.
Why should we keep VOCs out of our homes?
According to the EPA, the air inside our homes can be ten times more polluted than the air outside. You know that chemical odor that is usually associated with the smell of wet paint? That is VOC being off-gassed into the air. If you have no other option than to use a VOC containing paint, make sure your are painting in a well ventilated area. If you want to avoid this headache all together (or quite literally get headache or migraine triggers from the smell) then only use zero VOC paints. Now that we are all spending more time at home than ever, it is so important that we minimize our health risks inside as well as outside.
What is the difference between low VOC and zero VOC paint?
VOCs are released during application and drying, but can continue to off-gas at low levels for years. VOC contents are measured in grams per liter (g/l). Low VOC paints are required to have less than 50g/l per liter and may include VOC containing chemicals that are intentionally added whereas zero VOC paints are required to have less than 5g/l with no intentionally added VOCs (although trace amounts of VOC may be present as residual components of other ingredients).
According to the FTC’s guidance on zero VOC claims, a "trace level" means:
- VOCs have not been intentionally added to the product.
- The presence of VOCs at that level does not cause material harm that consumers typically associate with VOCs, including but not limited to, harm to the environment or human health.
- The level of VOCs is no more than that which would be found as an acknowledged trace contaminant or background level in the ambient air.
But zero VOC paints don't work as well...
This was maybe true years and years ago but green chemistry has come quite a long way in the last few years. Our zero VOC formulas have been in the works for years. Our chemists have been working to source and test only the best ingredients against the competition. We think that just because something is zero VOC, it does not have to correlate with low performance. Plus, we enjoy the challenge.
Have more questions about VOCs and our formulas?
Head to our ask an expert page and shoot us a message!