Not all paints are the same. We can say this for nearly any object or commodity in the world, just reinserting a different noun of ‘x’ into place of paints, and the statement would still be true:
- Not all tortilla chips are the same
- Not all cars are the same
- Not all people are the same
That’s to say that this isn’t a radical thought — to assert that there are noticeable differences from one thing to another; however, there are some people who might not know this. You likely know this person too. They’re that one friend of yours who you send to the grocery store to buy Coca Cola and Cheez-Its and come back with Pepsi and Cheese Nips. And there you are, left shaking your head in disbelief, wondering how they could have (1) misconstrued your words or (2) managed to have thought that these objects are even the same in terms of quality.
While you may or may not know this, the same goes for paint. In particular, there are different types of paint you should be looking for when in search of a redesign or paint job for your furniture/home. If you or someone in your household happens to have allergies, you shouldn’t be buying regular paint. Rather, you should be looking for either low odor paints or low volatile organic compound (VOC) paint.
Low odor paint and low VOC paint are paints that are meant to be both non-toxic and allergenic. At its basis, VOC is one of the basic causes for odor in paints, since VOCs are the organic chemical compounds that evaporate within indoor environments, based upon atmospheric conditions (temperature, pressure).
While VOC paints used to be more common, similar with lead paint, due to their ability to feature a great deal of longevity, we are know learning that they might not be that safe for people interacting with them. In particular, data shows that rooms with VOC levels over 500 ppb (parts-per-billion) can cause allergic reactions in people with chemical sensitivities, and that rooms with VOC-laced paint can lead to indoor air pollution that is sometimes 200%-500% greater than the outdoors, causing sever reactions in people allergic to such organic compounds. Similarly, research from Sweden has shown that children with multiple allergic symptoms have their allergic sensitives nearly doubled when exposed to rooms with high amounts of VOCs and PGE (a prostaglandin).
Low odor paints (low VOC paints) can help abet most of these issues, by decreasing the likelihood with which people might happen to get sick due to organic compounds. These low odor paints can be found in a variety of styles and uses, ranging from non toxic paint for cribs to non toxic spray paint, low VOC porch paint to low VOC wall primer.
If you want to be safe for both yourself and your family, it is worth your time to look for low odor paints. Furthermore, if you can find no VOC paints, you very well might be in luck. While low VOC paints still contain some trace elements of VOCs, no VOC paints will contain none. However, this doesn’t mean that this paint will not have some sort of harmful chemical within it. Both paints will have either no or little traces of odor, but they may have traces of harmful chemicals within them. This is where you, as the consumer, must continue to take the time to be diligent and read up on your paints, understanding that each is unique in their own right.