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How Are Eco-friendly Paints Better Than Conventional Paints That Contain VOCs?

Updated on February 13, 2020
Jyotirupa Sarma profile image

Jyotirupa is a passionate writer who uses the pen to spread awareness about the ill-practices which are devouring the mother earth.

Conventional Paints Vs Eco-friendly Paints

Conventional Paints Vs Eco-friendly Paints
Conventional Paints Vs Eco-friendly Paints | Source

What Are VOCs?

Everyone wants their home to look new forever and, in a bid to turn this dream of a home owner into a reality, the paint industry has developed myriad of chemicals to enhance the self-life of the paints.

Conventional paints are made from a few chemicals, most of which are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which vaporize when exposed to the atmosphere. VOCs can cause serious health problems. Some chemicals like formaldehyde can cause lung cancer, benzene and 1,3 -butadiene may cause leukaemia, and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated tetraphenyls (PCTs), dioxins can cause cancer. Other harmful effects include nausea, headaches, dizziness, irritation in the eyes and throat, nose or skin, or burning sensation.

What Are the Chemicals Found in Conventional Paints And What Are their Components?

Conventional paints contain hazardous chemicals like cadmium, cobalt, phthalates etc. These chemicals not only harm the human body but also our environment. The waste and by-products of the synthetic chemical industry leaves an immense carbon footprint which damages the environment.

These paints have mainly 3 components:

  1. Pigments that give it the color
  2. Binders that help the pigments stick to the applied surface
  3. Solvents that keep the paint in liquid form to make it easier to apply

Among these 3 components, the paint gets most of its level of VOC from the solvents. This is mainly because the solvents are designed to evaporate fast into the atmosphere.

How Are Eco-friendly Paints Better Than Conventional Ones?

Eco-friendly paints emit less or no harmful materials that deteriorate our environment. They don’t release toxic gases in the atmosphere and some of these paints can even be composted. These paints are low-VOC or zero-VOC and mostly water-based and not petroleum based. Also, they are very LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) compliant which gives your exterior and interior walls an excellent look and also gives you good indoor air quality.

Check the following while buying an eco-friendly paint:

  1. Check whether it is labelled zero or no VOC
  2. Check it has a certified organic label
  3. Check the ingredients listed

You should always try to avoid the toxic impact of the VOCs by opting for zero-VOC paints. Eco-friendly paints can be a little more expensive than the conventional paints, but it is always better to pay more when it is the question of your family’s health.


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