ARTICLES / DANGERS OF ISOCYANATES
Low VOC Paint
Low VOC Paint
June 23, 2016
Today, there is an emphasis by manufacturers of paints to lower the amount of toxicity in the solvents used for the creation process. Historically, paints have been made with what is known as volatile organic compounds (VOC) which get released into the air when the paint dries. While VOCs have not really been an issue with paints used outdoors because they disperse rather quickly, they are problematic with paints that are used indoors.
Therefore, there has been a push in recent years by paint manufacturers to create low VOC paint which greatly reduces the amount of solvents released into the atmosphere. Both low and zero VOC paint products are being produced and marketed by many paint companies.
How VOCs Affect Your Health
The release of VOCs from drying paint may cause a number of health issues for those who stay for many hours inside a home, office, building, or facility. The short term affects are dizziness and headaches which may be caused in part by the odor, but more likely it is the VOCs which are being released that creates the ill effects.
Over time, the headaches and dizziness disappear as the solvents are fully released and eventually dispersed so they are no longer an immediate health threat. However, the long term effects of VOCs are still not very clear. The US Environmental Protection Agency has warned that some VOCs may be carcinogens which might cause cancer in certain individuals. It must be stated that there are no long term studies that confirm this theory, but it is strongly suspected given the nature of the organic compounds that are used in the paint.
How the Federal Government Regulates VOCs
Today, the federal government places a limit on the amount of VOCs that can be present in pain. The content cannot exceed 250 grams per liter for flat finish paint and 380 grams per liter for other types of finishes. However, there are even lower limits set by the state of California which sets the amount at just 50 grams per liter.
What the number is a relatively low amount, there are paint manufacturers who have gone far lower when it comes to the creation of low VOC paint. In the past, the issue with creating low or zero VOC paint is that it generally performs poorly in terms of longevity and coverage compared to paints with much higher VOC levels. That has changed dramatically however thanks to the introduction of new materials which make the low and no VOC paints far more durable than ever before.
The Rise of Low VOC Paint
Because of the environment impact of VOCs, the effort by government and paint manufactures has been considerable in recent years when it comes to lowering the amount. The good news is that technology combined with new materials have made this type of paint possible although because of the processing it still costs somewhat above standard, higher VOC paints.
Thanks to modern manufacturing methods, low VOC paint has become a reality and today you can find it in many retail stores for both individual consumers and painting companies who want to use the best products with the lowest toxicity values.
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