Low-VOC Exterior Paints? What’s the Point?April 14th, 2011 | Posted by in Air Quality | Environment | Green Homes | Green Products | Water Quality
Lots of folks are seriously concerned about the health of their indoor environment – and for good reason. As we’ve written about before, using conventional interior paints which are high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can “offgas” fumes which are toxic, and potentially hazardous to the health of people.
When a green product is referred to as low-VOC, it is usually referencing a synthetic, liquid solvent that gives off – or “offgasses” – toxic fumes. This is the source of the poignant smell in paints, turpentine, varnish, stains, and other finishing products, which can often cause headaches and other health issues, if they are inhaled in enough volume over time. The troubling thing about conventional products with a high-VOC content is that those substances can continue to offgas VOCs for years after it has dried, and after the poignant smell has abated: just because you can’t smell the VOCs anymore doesn’t mean you’re not still inhaling toxic fumes.
For this reason, most people use low-VOC paints and stains in their interiors. But there are important reasons to use low-VOC paints and stains on the exterior of your home, or deck: many of the toxic elements in conventional finishes include heavy metals and formaldehyde – substances which can leach out into the environment over time (consider how the paints on the exteriors of homes eventually chip off). When these gasses and heavy metals leach out of finishes, or chip off into the soil, they pollute. While the amount being leached into the environment may be trace, any contribution of toxic chemicals into the environment is a negative contribution.
And, if you have a garden around your house, or a well nearby, is it ultimately worth risking these toxins and heavy metals leaching into food and water supplies, when healthy, safe alternatives exist?
GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS
This week Green Depot is having a 15%-off sale on a full range of paints, stains, sealants, and other finishing products. AFM Safecoat paints have both interior exterior low-VOC products available. Ecoprocote also has a number of low-VOC stains, sealers, and clear top coats. And make sure to check out Ivy Coatings primers and paints, which are available for application to both interior and exterior surfaces. To see all of the products we’re offering this week at a 15% discount, you can visit our promotion’s page by clicking here.