You may or may not have heard of VOCs, the acronym stands for Volatile Organic Compounds and encompasses a range of chemicals that are often found in paint. What many people don’t know is that these VOCs in paint are a health risk to inhale as well as being bad for the environment. In this article we look deeper into volatile organic compounds in paint and why you should consider switching to a safer alternative.
What are VOCs?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Often, VOCs are man-made and are used to produce and manufacture paints, refrigerants and pharmaceuticals. They become an issue when they are emitted into the air from certain solids or liquids. This is due to them containing a variety of toxic chemicals.
What are the side effects on humans of VOCs?
The problem with VOCs is that they pose a number of risks to human health, animal wellbeing and the environment. Most of us are all too familiar with the typical smell associated with a fresh lick of paint on the walls. It can be strong, nauseating and even make you feel lightheaded and dizzy. It should come as no surprise that anything with such a strong smell is not particularly good for us to be inhaling. What’s more, even when the paint dries and the smell disappears, that doesn’t mean you are no longer inhaling nasty chemicals. Paint continues to release VOCs into the air long after it dries which can lead to longer term effects. Volatile organic compounds can be a particular nuisance for those who already suffer with issues like asthma.
Why are VOCs bad for the environment?
A consequence of the uncontrolled emission of VOCs is the impact on the environment. Volatile organic compounds are a pollutant that can be found in more than just paint. They can be found in cleaning products, glue and even car fumes. When these chemicals are released into the atmosphere it can lead to global warming as they react with other chemicals causing ozone molecules. Significantly, when VOCs are subjected to direct heat such as sunlight or radiators a process known as off gassing can take place. Offgassing is where more of these chemicals are released back into the air. Off-gassing is not always noticeable, but can cause a smell and a repeat of symptoms similar to those associated with inhaling fresh paint.
Side effects summarised
We have discussed both the side effects of volatile organic compounds on our health and on the environment. Here is a summary of the main issues and side effects associated with VOCs in paint:
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- ITchy eyes
- Contribution to ground level ozone
- Worsens asthma symptoms
How to avoid VOCs in paint
As discussed, VOCs can be found in a number of household products, in this article we are focusing on paint however there are a number of other products you can avoid. This includes aerosols such as hairspray, air fresheners and spray deodorants. It can be hard to avoid VOCs in paint as many of the standard wall paints do use VOCs in their products. There are few alternatives available which can make it difficult to identify a high quality, low VOC paint. Fortunately, one brand who has demonstrated time and time again that it is possible to have an exceptionally high quality paint without the nasty chemicals is Victory Colours. Their specially engineered formula comes with an array of benefits which include:
- Ultra low VOC
- Washable properties
- Environmentally friendly
- Toxic free
- Low odour
- Cruelty free
- Range of beautiful colours
- Great opacity
- Super durable
Overview of why you should use low or no VOC paint
We hope this article has given you a deeper insight into the ingredients of paint and why you should switch to a low or not VOC paint alternative. The popularity of eco-friendly, vegan and low VOC paints is continuing to grow as more and more consumers become aware of our impact on the environment.