With more and more people being interested in “going green,” more and more companies are offering new types of paint. Chances are, you have come across well-known paint brands labeled either “No VOC” or “Low VOC.” Even though these labels sound positive (and they are) it’s still important to understand what they mean and why they are important. This article on Low VOC vs. No VOC Paint will help you understand the differences.
The acronym VOC actually stands for “volatile organic compound.” These are found in a wide array of building materials and hold part of the responsibility for that “freshly painted” smell.
The bad news is, these chemicals are extremely unstable, and they exude gasses that can be extremely harmful to both the environment and people. This is the reason VOCs are now regulated by the government.
Because VOCs are present in paints, they tend to build up in the home. In fact, studies from the EPA have shown that the levels of some organics are two to five times higher inside, than outside.
If VOCs are inhaled, they can lead to a number of health issues, including airway irrigation, nausea, headaches and damage to the central nervous system, kidneys and liver. Because of this, it’s always best to use products with low- or no-VOCs if possible, such as the products offered at realmilkpaint.com.
Low VOC Explained
The Low VOC paints have a lower level of volatile organic compounds. What this means is that they don’t exude as much gas as more traditional paints do. Keep in mind, when a label says “low” this is only comparing it to other paints. There aren’t any set standards that define exactly what “low” is, so these labels are arbitrary.
No VOC Explained
If a paint is labeled as having “no VOCs” then it means they (originally) have no volatile organic compounds in them. This doesn’t mean they don’t contain any type of harmful chemical. The process of tinting the paint may add the VOCs. Even with this in mind, this option is a much better and safer option.
Pros and Cons of Using Low VOC vs. No VOC Paint
One of the biggest advantages of using low- or no-VOC paints is that there isn’t much of an odor. These paints also dry quickly and provide pretty good coverage. Also, unlike when they were first introduced, these paints offer a durable finish.
You can apply these paints to virtually any surface and due to the popularity of the “green” movement, they are available at almost all hardware and home goods stores. The color options aren’t limited, either.
However, just like anything else, there’s also a downside. Sometimes, these types of paints may contain other additives and solvents that are harmful. As a result, it is important to understand what all goes into the paint you are purchasing. Be sure to ask a retailer and do a bit of research on your own about any of the brands you are considering buying.
Try to Find the Least Toxic Paint
Now that you have a little more understanding of Low VOC vs. No VOC paint, if you are ready to purchase paint, try to find ones that have a label that reads “natural” or “non-toxic.” Also, read the labels to make sure there are no additional solvents or additives put in and be sure that the levels of volatile organic compounds are 5g/L or less.
If you still aren’t sure about what paint is right for your project and which is safest for you and the environment, reach out to the pros. They can help you find the right paint for your project and your safety and health concerns. They can also help you understand more about Low VOC vs. No VOC paint. However, in the long run, paints with low- or no-VOCs are going to be the smarter option.