Know your paints

This has also created a trend in building eco-friendly homes. One of the ways you can ensure an eco-friendly home is to use environment-friendly paints.

There are thousands of chemicals that can be used to manufacture paints. They are grouped under Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Some of these combinations are created to enhance the look and performance of the application area. They are prepared without any detailed research about what these paints can do to human beings and to the environment.

There are certain chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde which are carcinogenic and certain heavy metals and phthalates which can create serious health problems which may affect our kidney and liver.

Today, paints with non-toxic elements, which don’t have VOC and are odourless, are available. They can be mixed with any colour to get the shade as desired by the end user. These paints are safe for people sensitive/allergic to chemicals. These are produced from about 250 chemical compounds out of which almost every chemical is derived naturally from plant sources and minerals.

Paints, thinners, stains and waxes, which are part of these eco-friendly products, are derived from raw materials including citrus peel extracts, essential oils, seed oils, tree resins, inert mineral fillers, tree and bee waxes, lead-free dryers and natural pigments.

Choosing these environment-friendly products for the interiors will have a dramatic effect on the room. Some of these products can even keep the room temperature down without relying on room coolers or air conditioners which account for reduced use of power. Air inside a room is 70 times more polluted with the use of carpets, furniture, etc than outside as the pollutants are diluted outside because of ventilation. Special silica ingredients can absorb and negate the pollution permanently. Generally, three types of eco-friendly paints can be used. They are lime wash, milk paint and clay paint. Lime wash acts as a primer. Milk paint is made from a protein in milk called casein. This comes in a powdery form which must be mixed with water for application and is good for the indoors. Clay paints are quick adhesives on the surface but they lack variety, in terms of colours.

Low VOC paints can withstand normal wear and tear, are easy to apply and are durable (last till about five years). These paints can also easily be cleaned with a damp cloth without the risk of any discolouration or fading. Also they need no touch up later. A paint is considered low VOC if it meets the standards of less than 200 grams of VOC in each litre. Zero VOC paints are also available.

Thus, eco-friendly paints are slowly gaining significance in the construction sector along with other building materials that can be used to build a green house. Such products play a significant role in a green future. This apart, they also address the health hazards which are caused by the use of regular paints.

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