Recently Casey and I have been renovating our office since he is now going to be working from home with me. I knew I wanted to go bold with our colors and chose a deep blue paint for the walls. Knowing that we are going to be spending a large portion of our day in that room, I was concerned about using a toxic paint that would likely give us headaches from the fumes. I had recently heard about paints that are practically odorless and contain low or no VOCs.
Brief Science Lesson: VOCs are volatile organic compounds that are gases emitted by solids or liquids, like paint, that contain a variety of chemicals, some of which are toxic. Their concentration can be increased up to 10x when indoors. Not good.
I went on a hunt for what I thought would be a difficult find, only to discover that there were was at least one safer* paint option at every store I visited. Although as usual, safer means more expensive, I was willing to pay a higher price to protect our health, especially since so much of our day would be spent in this room.
An hour into painting, I realized that I had forgotten to open the windows in the office. I was shocked to realize that not only did I not have a headache, I couldn’t even smell the paint. I spent two long days painting that room since the dark color required a second coat, but I never had any adverse effects from the paint fumes. Although I’m not entirely sure how much safer these low VOC paints are, it definitely made for a much more pleasant experience.
So next time you have a paint project in your home, consider choosing a low or no VOC paint. Your lungs will thank you.
*There’s some debate as to whether low/no/zero VOC paints are actually any safer than standard paint. I’m sure you are not surprised as this is a common theme within any industry. I haven’t done a ton of research, but plan to do more and will update you. For now, I needed to make a quick decision (the stores were closing and we had family headed into town) and am thankful for a lower VOC option, even if just for my lack of headache. I know Lullaby Paint offers non-toxic options that don’t seem to be much more expensive, but I haven’t had a chance to try them yet. If you have, share your thoughts below.