“Green” Paint

January 25, 2009

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This post is courtesy of Micah who sent me the link through Inhabit.com, a hip and smart design and technology blog that looks at sustainability in the field about yet another new “green” paint on the market. 

The EPA tells us the quality of indoor air is often worse than ourdoor air, particularly in the winter when the windows are closed. Smoke, radon, mold and cleaning products provide some of the bad air. One of the worst offenders is the out-gassing of the VOC’s from our paint. Some other obvious toxic out-gassers are mothballs and nail polish- anything with a label reading use ventilated area. However, there are many hidden and more subtle toxins that are in our air, as well.

But this post is about paint.  Sherwin-Williams has launched several lines of paint that claim to offer eco-friendly alternatives to standard VOC-laden paints. There is a no-VOC and a low-VOC line now available. I don’t really understand why they would go halfway- why not just make the change? Newly trademarked names like “Harmony, Duration and Greensure” are alluring, aren’t they? I go for names like that, but the question is do they do the job? I know that many painters still turn their noses up at the spreadability and drying time as well as quality and consistency of coverage of the lower VOC paints. I am not so fussy. I would rather live in a healthy home. Even though we use healthy paint in our house, we still do use air filters all year round- in summer for allergens coming in, and of course in the colder seasons as well.

I am also very interested if the company walks their talk and Sherman-Williams seems to be going in that direction. Using biodiesel  in their trucks and recycling and choosing a non-discharge and re-use policy for solvents that are used in their not-green paints. But why not just go green, Sherwin-Williams?

But to really understand the green-ness of a company you can always check with DegreeofGreen.com a company that does product reviews and licensing for the “green” distinction. They point out three key questions and provides answers to: What are the health, sustainable and environmental qualities of the products? 

Hats off to all the companies who have chosen to re-create non-toxic paints and feature them, hopefully phasing out the toxic paints in the near future.

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