Non-Toxic Paint Review

Make Sure You're Not Poisoning Yourself

The fastest and least expensive way to give your décor a face-lift is by painting. A fresh coat of paint in a new and "hot" color can take your space from dull to daring in a matter of hours. However, is the paint you are using adding some new and hot additives to your body's composition? What effect does your choice of paint have on your health and environment? Today's consumer is more aware than ever of the negative effects of some paints, and in response, paint manufacturers are listening with both ears to the requests and demands of the public.

VOCs-A Serious Health Issue

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that are emitted by most paints into the air, both while you are painting and long afterward-sometimes for many years after the paint has dried. Highly carcinogenic and major pollutants, these chemicals cause all sorts of health issues and in some cases, permanent damage. In response to the health concerns related to such paints, regulations and restrictions have been put into place for protection and new paint brands are being developed which emit low to zero VOCs.

Green Certification

Along with the establishment of regulations, two certifications that test for and guarantee low quantities of VOCs have been created: Green Seal and GreenGuard. We offer a few suggestions for high-quality, low VOC paints that have these certifications and have also been tested by Consumer Reports for their performance in hiding defects, smoothness of application and mixing, ease with which it is cleaned, and several other factors.

Low and No-VOCs, Eco-Friendly Paints

Benjamin Moore Aura carries the GreenGuard certification and Consumer Reports has rated Aura very high in flat and eggshell finishes. However, the semi-gloss finish is not rated highly. Use it in the living room or hallways and skip the bathroom. Benjamin Moore also makes a line called Eco Spec in a selection of quiet neutral colors. These paints are 100 percent acrylic.

Earning the Best-Buy title for flat and semi-gloss finishes from Consumer Reports, Olympic Premium with the Green Seal certification is no-VOC paint. When it came to the eggshell finish, this brand rated average.

Sitting in the middle among its peers, Sherwin-Williams Harmony performed well in flat and semi-gloss finishes but not in eggshell. This no-VOC paint carries the GreenGuard certification.

Other eco-friendly, interior paint brands to consider include AFM Safecoat, which has been formulated to release the least amount of toxins into the air, and AFM Safecoat actually creates a "safe coat" over the paint.

Made entirely of "food-grade ingredients," Anna Sova paints differ from all other paints on the market. Not only are they made entirely organic, but they also come in aromatherapy blends for paint that smells delicious.

Yolo Colorhouse carries the Green Seal certification and is eco-friendly with low odor. The best feature of these paints is that they go on like conventional wall paint. They are available in interior flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss paints as well as an eco-friendly primer.