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Category Archives: Paint Safety

Low VOC, No VOC, Non-Toxic Paint: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to painting your home, you may think you have an easy task before you. All you need to do is find the best colors, choose the most affordable paint, and get the job done.

Low VOC, No VOC, Non-Toxic Paint: What’s The Difference?However, there is more to choosing paint than just the color.

It is important to remember that paints can actually be hazardous to your health. Many paints contain VOCs, Volatile Organic Compounds, which can cause problems for years to come. That is why many manufacturers are creating low VOC, no VOC, and non-toxic paint.

So, what is the difference?

Even when a paint is advertised as being “no VOC,” it still contains some level of toxins.

Non-toxic, or natural paints, are made from natural ingredients and minerals, such as water, clay, chalk, plant dyes, and essential oils. Natural paints are, by far, the safest option for the overall health of you and your family.

No VOC paints contain VOCs in the range of 5 grams/liter or less. So, while they do contain some level of VOCs, they are legally able to tout themselves as being free of VOCs.

Low VOC paints are just that – they are low in VOCs. These types of paints are still a fairly safe option because they utilize water instead of petroleum-based solvents. This means that the paint will have minimal odor, so it will release minimal amount of VOCs into the air. If you choose this type of paint, it is still important to vacate the area after painting until it is dry and the odor is gone.

Knowing the difference between these three types of paints will help you choose the best and safest paint for your home. Remember: even if you have to pay a little bit more, you cannot put a price on the health of your family.


Clean Up And Safety After A Paint Job

Painting your home can be a rewarding experience. After all, who doesn’t like the feeling of a job well done? And let’s not forget the pleasure of a clean, freshly painted wall. It can be absolutely invigorating. Unfortunately, this joy also comes with a few headaches, for all the tools you used to create your masterpiece now need to be safely cleaned up and dealt with. Here are a few tips to help you finish as well as you began.

Clean Up And Safety After A Paint JobStow any ladders or step stools properly – While these objects can be very useful in reaching those high spots on the wall, if they are left out, ladders can be a safety concern. So, before the two year old begins to climb it or your loved ones come around the corner and run into it, put the ladder or step stool away.

Wrap up and dispose of any drip cloths – These things do a great job protecting your floor from unwanted paint splatter, but they serve as poor substitutes for an ice rink. Again, take up the cloths and deal with them (store or trash) as you see fit.

Clean your brushes and rollers – You worked hard on getting your walls to look great. You really don’t want little hands to come along and mess up the fruits of your labor. If you used latex paint, wash your brushes and rollers in warm water and a little soap. If you used oil paints, read the label on the can for the best solvents.

Store or dispose of leftover paint – If you choose to keep the leftover paint, be sure to close the can securely. When storing paint, keep it in an area where it won’t be exposed to freezing temperatures, a heat source, or sunlight.

If you choose to dispose of the paint, make sure you know the proper methods for your safety and the safety of the environment. Latex paint can be dried and disposed of with the regular garbage, but oil based paints must be treated as hazardous waste.


Paint Chemicals And Kids

I don’t know about you, but I am rather paranoid about my kids and chemicals. It’s amazing how quickly little hands can get into serious trouble. That is why you will find warnings on hairspray, pain medication, common cleaners, and so much more. Each of these warnings has a section instructing us to keep these things out of reach of young children. Well, surprise surprise…paint is on the list of “dangerous chemicals” for kids.

Paint Chemicals And KidsActually, if used improperly, paint can be a hazard for anyone. However, due to their smaller size and less developed systems children are more susceptible to the harms caused by paint chemicals.

Paint fumes – All paints tell you to use the product in a well ventilated area since the fumes can have less than desirable effects. These effects can affect children too. Kids should not spend any extended amount of time in a room that is being painted, to minimize the exposure to fumes. The short term effects of these fumes include headache, dizziness, nausea, and the like. Studies have suggested that the long term affects for kids exposed to paint fumes could include asthma and allergies.

Contact with paint – If you are using oil-based paints, you should practice greater caution with your kids and their exposure, since mere contact with the paint can cause unpleasant side effects. The solvents included in oil based paints can be an irritant to the skin and the eyes.

Swallowing paint – It goes without saying, but paint is not one of the four main food groups. If a child somehow manages to swallow paint, contact poison control. Be sure to have all pertinent information on hand like the type of paint, the amount consumed, the age and weight of the child, etc. Paint consumption can be a serious issue, so don’t delay.


6 Tips For Disposing Of Leftover Paint

You’ve experienced the exhilaration (and the fumes) associated with changing the color of your room.  Now you are left with a sense of accomplishment; a crisp, clean looking room; and the dreaded bit of leftover paint.  While a little bit of paint is fine to keep for touch ups, I highly doubt you will need half a gallon for that.  So, what do you do with all that leftover paint?

Dig Deeper – The Mystery Of Recycling Latex Paint

6 Tips For Disposing Of Leftover Paint

  1. For limited quantities of latex paint, such as an inch or so at the bottom of the can, you can simply leave the open can outside to dry out.  Be sure to keep it out of reach of children or pets.  Once the residual paint has dried, you can simply throw away the can.
  2. If you are left with larger quantities of paint, you might want to consider investing in a box and some cat litter or shredded paper.  Pour the paint into the box of litter or paper and wait for the concoction to dry.  Then dispose of the box and the empty paint can.
  3. If you want to get more creative with your leftover paint, you could blend several different cans of leftover paint for a base coat on your next DIY paint job.  While you may get an unsightly color, at least you won’t need to buy enough of the new color for multiple coats.
  4. Throughout Colorado, there are many locations that will recycle or take back old paint. Different rules apply for latex and oil based paints, so make sure you separate them out. Then contact your local government office for a recycling center near you.
  5. Dispose of oil based paint as you would hazardous waste.  Check your local waste management company for hazardous waste instructions.
  6. Consider repurposing the paint.  Is there an art project that would benefit from that shade of green?  Is there a school project that would look better with a coat of red?  Is there a local nonprofit that is looking for a fresh look?  Rather than waste, look for ways to make it work.

The Hazards Of Using VOC Paint

Think back to the last time you painted a room in your home. What did you focus on most?

Chances are it was choosing the best colors.

The last thing on your mind is the potential danger of the paint that you plan to put on your walls. After all, lead-based paint is out of the picture, so everything should be okay, right?

Well, that depends. Everything will be okay as long as you choose the right paint – the right paint being paint that is low in VOC levels.

Volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, are the chemicals used in paint to make it solidify. When the paint goes on wet, then dries, the VOCs are released through evaporation. The problem with VOCs is that they are not always eliminated through evaporation. VOCs can continue to enter the air that you breathe inside your home for many years.

VOCs pose a health risk because they are carcinogens. When you breathe in too much of VOC-tainted air, such as when you are painting a room, you will likely develop a headache. If you breathe in VOC-tainted air over an extended period of time, you run the risk of developing health problems, such as allergies and asthma.

The Hazards Of Using VOC PaintTo avoid the risk of VOC-related health problems, you can try an all-natural paint product. The internet is full of homemade paint recipes. However, making these paints is a hassle of its own – and the results may not be long-lasting.

You can also take an easier route and simply pay attention to the label on your paint. Choose a paint that is low in VOCs. Yes, low-VOC paint is going to cost more – but when you compare the price of a gallon of paint to the price of your overall health, there is no comparison.

You can also ask your painting professional what paints he prefers. As a painter, I am in a different home every day of the week. I work with paint several hours a day. Therefore I also care about the quality of paint I use in my business because I know it will impact my health as well as the families I’m painting for. I’ve done the research. I know what choices are best. And I’m happy to share them with you.

The health of your family and yourself are much more important in the long run than saving a few bucks on a bucket of paint. Ask for low VOC the next time your room needs a change.