Did you know
when you paint your home you could be introducing toxic chemicals that can last for many years, polluting the air that you breathe and that are harmful to your health?
Indoor air pollution can be a major problem for many people and many building materials could be contributing to this for a long long time after they are installed or applied. Paint is one of these toxic materials. It can give off invisible and toxic gases for several years after it is applied. And as it will be it covering all the walls and ceilings of most houses, so it can have a big effect on indoor air quality and consequently affect your health in many ways.
Volatile Organic Compounds in VOC paints
If you are chemically sensitive, you should never use oil based paint in your home. At the very least, use low VOC paints but even these will be giving off some toxic fumes. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. These are the toxic chemicals which linger and give off gas throughout the whole of your home. Low VOC paints are latex based and made with synthetic compounds. They’re widely available in a broad range of colors these days.
Healthier alternatives for paints.
But there are also much healthier alternatives than low VOC paints. Thanks to the growing interest in eco-friendly living, it’s becoming easier to find healthier paint alternatives.
- natural paints available which use plant-based oils and dyes.
These are made with casein, which is a protein found in milk. They come in powdered form, in a wide variety of colors, and must be mixed with water in order to apply them. Natural paints have 2 drawbacks that you’ll need to consider. First, you have to apply the paint within a few hours after mixing, since it can’t be stored. Second, it only comes in a matte finish. So if you want a gloss or semi-gloss finish you would have to apply a sealer
- Another eco-friendly choice for paint is a limestone wash.
With a characteristic antique white washed look which comes from a natural process of calcium in the limestone rising to the surface after drying. It’s main drawback is that it can only be used on porous surfaces like wood and plaster because it has to be absobed into the surface. Drywall, painted finishes, or surfaces that have already been stained are not suitable for limestone wash paints. Care must be taken to wear protective clothing and eyewear while you’re applying it so that it doesn’t get into your eyes or onto your skin.
Limestone washes are more durable than a lot of other natural paints so you can use them on outside surfaces like brick or concrete.
- Clay paint is another natural choice.
A beautiful choice for earth tone colours. Clay paints can be applied to almost any surface inside your home including drywall, nonporous surfaces, and surfaces that have already been painted. But there are a couple of drawbacks to using clay paint. Firstly, it’s only available in a limited earth tone color palette. So if you want bright orange or acid green, clay paint is not a good choice. Also, it’s not very durable when it comes to withstanding lots of fingerprints or crayon marks. You can’t scrub it clean, but you can touch it up. Lastly, clay paint is more expensive than typical synthetic paint.