Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Paints and Stains for a Healthy Space

Children's books


Watching paint — or stain — dry is boring, but did you know many such products are also harmful? Paints and stains emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) the moment you open the can, polluting the air in the surrounding environment. VOCs serve as chemical solvents and driers. They allow additives to blend and help the product dry fast by rapidly evaporating.

Children's books

eco-friendly paints and stains

Aside from VOCs, old paint and stain products may contain heavy metals. These substances fall into the hazardous waste category, which is fatal when ingested or absorbed. Paints and stains can harm your health and the environment.

What Do VOCs Do to the Environment?

VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone and smog formation, polluting the air humans and wildlife breathe. When exposed to sunlight, these chemicals react with nitrogen oxide from gas- and diesel-powered vehicles and industrial facilities.

These air pollutants indirectly accelerate climate change, too. They increase the concentration of ozone, a potent greenhouse gas. Some VOCs directly trap heat from Earth, helping intensify global warming.

VOC emissions can destroy various ecosystems. They play a role in acid rain, which can wash away vital nutrients from the soil, making it less suitable for cultivation.

Acid rain can also alter seawater’s chemistry. High amounts of acidic compounds affect the abundance of minerals aquatic creatures — such as corals, oysters, clams and lobsters — use to build skeletons and shells. Losing some marine life is enough to cause ecological imbalance, threatening the existence of other species.

Moreover, bodies of water with a lower pH level have less capacity to store carbon. Acidic oceans, seas and lakes are less effective carbon sinks, which are natural environments that trap and render carbon harmless. Capturing less carbon dioxide increases the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

How Heavy Metals Are Harmful for the Water Environment

Heavy metal contamination is terrible news for coastal environments. Mercury in old paint and stain cans can cause behavioral changes in aquatic animals, compromise their reproductive ability, stunt their development and kill them.

Lead pollution can cause physiological, neurological and biochemical disorders in fish, affecting their immune responses. Exposure to this hazardous substance can also lead to behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions.

What Are Eco-Friendly Paints and Stains?

Greener paints and stains pose less harm to human health and the environment. They have few to zero VOCs, low levels of biocides — used as preservatives — minimal to no fungicides — used for mildew growth prevention — and natural pigments. Like VOCs, biocides and fungicides can be toxic.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a commercial product with all these characteristics. Exterior paints tend to have more harmful substances than interior ones to enhance their properties.

Still, eco-friendly paints and stains are more sustainable. Using them for home improvement complements the other things you may be doing to be an environmental force for good, such as eating a plant-based diet, recycling and opting for more sustainable transportation methods

How to Keep Your Space Healthy When Painting and Staining

Use these six tips to compare paint and stain products accordingly:

1. Go With Water-Based Formulas

Water-based, acrylic or latex products generally have fewer hazardous materials than oil-based ones. If you find old, half-empty paint or stain cans, avoid using them because they may contain a heavy metal.

2. Look for Zero VOC

Buy a product with less than 5 grams per liter of VOC content only when you can’t find one with none.

3. Find Out Pigment Ingredients

Traditional paints and stains get their colors from pigments based on chemicals. Eco-friendly products use natural ingredients derived from plants and naturally occurring minerals.

Regarding stains, use the one with more pigment. Stained woodwork with a darker brown color not only looks warmer and more welcoming, but is also more resistant to the effects of ultraviolet radiation.

4. Consider Natural Paints

Plant extracts, minerals or milk protein comprise natural interior paints. They contain zero petroleum and vegetation-derived VOCs. These eco-friendly products emit no biocides and fungicides.

5. Choose Zinc Oxide Over Fungicides

Mildew hates zinc, making it a popular natural fungicide used in many building materials where fungal growth is a concern. Green exterior paint manufacturers have adopted it to eliminate fungicides in their formulas and make them safer and more eco-friendly.

Painting a Picture of Healthy Space

Purposely buying eco-friendly paints and stains helps keep your indoor and outdoor air quality levels healthy. Still, properly ventilate your space when you coat your property and valuables to eliminate unwanted odors during your project.



Source link

Mia Barnes biofriendlyplanet.com

Children's books