There is a nasty little secret about many household products including paints. Most paints have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
BUT, I have good news many paint companies offer a no voc or low voc product. In the paint business, we continue to move away from alkyd or oil based products because they are full of solvents and VOCs and basically are unhealthy. The alternative is to use latex products. Now, many companies have formulated low VOCs type products that are very durable. This used to be the knock on products that had lower VOCs. Many hospitals and nursing homes are looking for safer alternatives to paint while patients are still present. Also, many people who have breathing problems and allergies need products that do not agitate these conditions. We have the answer in both a low odor and no VOCs product. The first thing when you are painting is to prime the substrate before putting finish coat on. This allows the finish the adhere better. The only substrate that I have seen that doesn't take these products very well is metal doors. It is a durability issue, over a short period of time the paint wears off. There is a latex primer and paint offered called Pure Performance by Pittsburgh Paints. Next, before you choose a finish coat, you need to consider that many bases of paint come in low or no VOCs. It is the colorant that adds VOCs to the paint base. This means that the more colorant or darker the color, the more VOC's are added to the finish product. I recommend a lighter color anyway for resale value of your home and it also keeps the paint professional from adding extra harmful VOCs to your product. Many builders are also looking for making their new homes free of allergens and VOCs. I know someone in the Knoxville area who is building completely allergy free homes and businesses. He is very happy for with the low/no VOC products we have given him. We have also painted a new addition at a local Hospital with this same product.
You can recommend that houses that have repaint issues be repainted with these products to help our environment and our overall health. If you are working with builders who are building homes, try recommending the use of these products to market these homes as a healthy alternative.
Vernon Corum, Jr.
the big kahuna