Safe paint is one of the primarily elements of green building. Using only low- and zero-VOC paints spares you and your family from inhaling the toxic fumes that traditional paints release into the atmosphere at dangerous levels, so it’s worth it to choose your paint carefully and wisely. Low-VOC is definitely a step up from typical, high-VOC paint, but the best choice, both for your health and the environment, is zero-VOC paint.
But what exactly are VOCs? They’re what make up that new-paint smell, which might seem harmless enough, and at any rate it does go away after a few days. But it’s actually far from innocent: VOCs are toxic; connected to more health hazards than we can even list here. VOCs are chemicals that become breathable gases at room temperature, and the ones typically found in paint include benzene, toluene, vinyl chloride, formaldehyde, ethyl and mercury. Yes, if you’ve ever used typical paint, you’ve been inhaling mercury!
These chemicals are damaging enough to our bodies, often triggering eye, nose and throat irritation, fatigue, headaches and sometimes even vomiting, according to the EPA. But beyond that, they combine with other elements to transform into ozone, contributing to ongoing air pollution. And most traditional paint continues to release VOCs into the air for several years after any detectable smell has gone away. In fact, only 50% of a paint job’s VOCs are released into the air during the first year, according to Green Seal.
To make your search for safe paint just a little easier, Green Depot carries a whopping five distinct lines of low-VOC and zero-VOC paints, with something for virtually every paint application you can think of—from your baby’s nursery to the concrete floor of a mechanic’s garage. And our paint tints are zero-VOC too, so even custom colors stay zero-VOC, which is unusual in today’s market.
Our zero-VOC Ivy Coatings line is made in Brooklyn, near our NYC home base. It and our zero-VOC AFM Safecoat paints can be tinted with our house pigments to match any swatch or other manufacturer’s color you might have already chosen. YOLO Colorhouse and Ana Sova Food Paint don’t offer custom colors, but their existing ranges are extensive and gorgeous. Then for specialty and industrial applications, take a look at the Ecoprocote line of paints, stains, varnishes and sealers for concrete, wood and more.