FAQs: What is VOC paint, FAQ 4
What is VOC in paint? Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have high vapor pressure (and a low boiling point) at normal room temperatures. What this leads to is a slow and gradual evaporation of these chemicals into the surrounding air. A good example is formaldehyde, which is found in many home-based products, including paint. As formaldehyde is off gassed into the surrounding air, home occupants invariably inhale it, which can lead to cause symptoms as mild as eye and nasal irritation, or a disease as severe as myeloid leukemia.
The truth is that VOCs are found in many household products, including floor and furniture finishes, paints, and solvents. Thankfully there are alternatives. Low-VOC paint types include: Latex (water based), recycled latex (water based), acrylic, and milk paint. The labels of paint cans can be checked for the following information: To be considered Low-VOC, the paint should consist of <50 grams per liter (g/l) of VOC. To be considered Zero-VOC, the paint should consist of <5 g/l of VOC.
Learn about natural finishes, including the recipes to make your own, in Natural Finishes – IBE 205.5.
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