Remodeling Tips and Reviews

VOC Paint

Air quality in a home is a real concern for any home owner. Many paints, varnishes and
solvents we use containing VOC’s. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound and primary component in the composition of standard oil and latex based paints.

Exposure to VOC’s in paint can trigger eye irritation, asthma attacks and respiratory paint_cansproblems. Other more serious sympthoms can include nausea and dizziness. Prolonged exposure has been linked to kidney disease, liver disease and even cancer.


A non profit organization called The Green Seal Organization has established a more stringent standard than the EPA for paints. They also do not allow the following chemicals to be in paint to get their seal:

  • Halomethanes (methylene chloride)
  • Polynuclear aromatics (naphthalene)
  • Miscellaneous volatile organics (acrolein, acrylonitrile)
  • Chlorinated ethanes (1,1,1-trichloroethane)
  • Heavy metals and their compounds (antimony, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury)
  • Chlorinated ethylenes (vinyl chloride)
  • Chlorobenzenes (1,2-dichlorobenzene)
  • Phthalate esters (di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phthalate, di-n-octyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate)
  • Miscellaneous semi-volatile organics (isophorone)
  • Preservatives (formaldehyde)
  • Aromatic solvents (benzene, toluene (methylbenzene), ethylbenzene)
  • Ketones (methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone)

Most paint manufacturers are now offering low or no VOC paints. To qualify as Low VOC a paint must have a VOC count less than 250 g/L for latex paints or 380 g/L for oil based paint. Purchasing a Green Seal product will ensure that these numbers are no higher than 50 g/L for flat paint or 150 g/L.

Pricing these no VOC paint is considered a premium product. Sherwin Williams and Home Depot offer products in the range of 40- 50 a gallon. Which is roughly double the price of standard paint. BUt when you look at the average room that is only an additional $70- $100. A small price to pay to avoid all the hassle and smells associated with VOC’s.