Is New Paint Toxic?

Jordan Paul , null

June 3rd, 2022

Is New Paint Toxic?

Are you among the many homeowners ready to get some painting done? This is the time of year to take advantage of the weather and get a few outdoor projects done, like painting. If you haven’t shopped for paint in a while, you may be unaware of a modernized paint called low VOC or no VOC paints. Normal paints can have irritating fumes (VOCs), but low and no VOC paints emit no harmful fumes, or in very low concentrations

What Are VOCs? (Volatile Organic Compounds)

Volatile organic compounds are contained within the fumes of drying paint. Many times latex paint has a strong ammonia odor, which is an example of a VOC. Enamels and other oil based paints emit even more VOCs, due to their composition. VOCs have long been a problem, which is why all paint cans require adequate ventilation as part of the directions

Should I Wait to Sleep in a Freshly Painted Room?

It is a good practice to wait a day or so after a room has been painted before sleeping in it. This is because unless very good ventilation has been provided, regular paints will continue to emit VOCs for several hours. These VOCs are a common lung and eye irritant, especially in small children.

In most situations, these VOCs will dissipate in about 24 hours, but the drying time will vary with the conditions. When the weather is pleasant and windows can be opened to allow the VOCs to escape, the drying time will be shortened. Conversely, in winter, opening windows can be an uncomfortable task, so some homeowners turn to low-VOC or even zero VOC paint to avoid the problem of trapping VOCs.

Low VOC paint includes a large number of latex paints that emit lower levels of VOCs as they dry, as compared to regular paint. Zero VOC paints completely remove VOCs, or reduce them to very small amounts, essentially removing them in any quantity that could be harmful to humans. By removing the VOCs, these paints are very popular with growing families.

Is Zero VOC Paint Safe to Use in a Guest Bedroom?

Zero VOC paint is completely odorless and completely safe to use in any bedroom, even a nursery. However, this does not necessarily mean the paint contains no VOCs at all. Even zero VOC paint may still contain trace amounts of these compounds, but at such low levels as to be inconsequential to humans.




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