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Choosing a Healthy (and Green) Paint for Your Home

by Tomio Mack, Writer,

The environmentally minded weekend painter or professional should wonder about the environmental and personal implications from using paint. Paint resources for going green are increasing everyday. Despite lead-based paint no longer being used, the chemicals within paint can be a danger to the environment as well as the painter. It should go without saying, but do not dump paint down the drain. Many paints contain chemicals which easily become airborne and can enter the body through the skin or inhalation. These chemicals are widely known to be carcinogens. There are actions one can take to ensure less of these chemicals are coming in contact with the individual and the environment.

Going green using non-toxic paint with a low volatile organic chemical (VOC) count will reduce the amount of smog contributing chemicals entering the environment. The indications for little or zero VOCs are typically very easily seen printed on the paint can. The resources for green paint are not necessarily green, but limit the amount of toxins entering the environment.

Choosing a green paint can also bring up the common additive of a mildecide. This does add another chemical to the paint which is designed to kill a biological agent. Some people are unknowingly allergic to many of the mildecides on the market and there is no real way to ascertain this information until after the paint is applied and dried on the wall. Unless an amount of mold or mildew is trying to be contained, a paint without a mildecide is a greener choice in using environmentally friendly resources.

Certain brands of paint on the market are designed to cater to chemically sensitive people. These paints are very environmentally friendly in comparison to conventional paints. When choosing a green paint, be sure to investigate the performance of the paint. Many environmentally friendly paints cover well and lay nicely, however other paints may sacrifice finish quality for a green product. Covering and coloring an interior or exterior wall is not limited to paint. There are alternative green resources that can be used as paint substitutes.

"Milk" or casein paints are an environmentally friendly paint alternative, but buyer beware. In many cases, the application does not resemble regular paint. It is possible for the milk paint to work well, but several issues arise with the usage. The paint does not lay as nicely as regular paint and is easier to blemish in the application. In other cases, the milk paint has not taken to the wall surface and peeled. This is the situation where the performance of the paint may be sacrificed for the use of green resources. Milk paint does work, but the application must be taken into account.

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