When selecting paint, most people tend to spend a lot of time choosing the best color and sheen, but hardly give any thought to the VOC level marked on the paint container. Most people don’t even know what VOC is.

If you’re wondering what VOC is, they are chemical compounds used in most oil-based paints to enhance their performance and durability. It is also responsible for the pungent smell associated with fresh paint. Before hiring a professional painter for your next painting job, learn about VOC in paints to limit its harmful effects in your home.

Here’s what you might need to know about VOC paint.

What is VOC and how can it impact your health?

Commonly found in traditional paints and coatings, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are harmful carbon-containing organic chemicals that are emitted into the air as the paint dries. When VOCs evaporate, they react with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone and other air pollutants. Emitted as harmful gas, VOCs adversely impact indoor air quality. Studies have revealed that the concentration of VOCs in indoor environments is generally two to five times higher than in outdoor environments. Traditional latex paints can continue emitting VOCs for years, but the most off-gassing happens during the first six months after the painting is complete.

VOCs impact on health:

The gases emitted from VOC paints can cause a host of health issues including dizziness, headaches, nausea, itchy eyes, allergies, and breathing difficulties. Breathing in a high level of VOCs or solvent paint fumes for a prolonged time can lead to severe lung ailments, memory loss, or even damage to the kidney and liver. Formaldehyde and benzene that are found in most VOC paints are proven carcinogens.

What are low VOC and zero VOC?

To keep your home safe from VOCrelated health hazards, a feasible solution is buying paints with low or zero VOCs. Though these environmentally responsible paints are costlier than oil-based traditional paints, they will be worth the added expense in the long run. Due to stern government regulations and the growing popularity of eco-friendly products worldwide, most of the reliable paint manufacturers in the USA are focusing on producing a broad range of environmentally responsible coatings and low and zero VOC paints to limit the environmental impact of VOC off-gassing.

Low VOC: Containing a reduced amount of VOCs, these eco-friendly paints don’t off-gas as much as regular oil-based paints. Paint can be referred to as low VOC if it contains less than 200 grams of VOCs per liter. If you are highly sensitive to the fresh paint smell, buy low VOC paints with less than 25 grams per liter of VOCs. Although low VOC paints are mainly used for indoor applications, many reputed painting professionals now use them for exterior painting as well.

Zero VOC:  Ideally, zero VOC or no VOC paints should not contain any volatile organic compounds in them.In the USA, however, no VOC paints can still contain less than 5 grams of VOCs per liter to be called safe.

What to look for when shopping for paint?

Whether you are thinking of painting yourself or looking to hire professional painters for your next painting job, the following are some of the important factors that you need to consider when buying paints to keep your family safe from VOC exposure.

  • Try to buy zero or low VOC paint. While buying paint, look for paint solutions containing less than 50 grams of VOC per liter. Carefully check the paint can label to know the VOC count per liter.
  • If you’re planning to hire a professional painter, ask what materials they will be using.
  • Make sure that the colorants used to create the paint color are zero or low VOC.
  • Look for paint products with a Green Seal Certification Mark on the can. This certification identifies that the product is safe for human health and the environment.

Hire a reliable painter in San Diego to give your house a new look with non-toxic, zero VOC paints.