Painting and Sustainability
by Greg Rosinski, Chemist
Technology has allowed multiple industries to move towards a higher level of sustainability. One specific industry is the painting industry, which has developed a paint and primer 2 in 1 paint. This new product moves painting towards sustainability b allowing time once spent priming walls to be completely moved past without impairing the quality. 2 in 1 paint eliminates to the amount of paint once needed to complete a job, and also boasts that it can be done in one coat. This helps to reduce the excess waste of metal/plastic for paint containers, and supplies used to create unnecessary paint. In addition these types of paints are low in volatile organic carbon (VOCs) which produce toxic fumes and residue that is hazardous to the environment.
VOCs are commonly found in paints, varnishes, cleaning products, markers, glue, and adhesives. All of the products if left untouched for a lengthy period of time will emit harmful gases that have adverse affects on health. Harmful effects of VOCs include asthma, cancer, and damage to the liver, central nervous system, and kidneys. Symptoms associated with exposure too high levels of VOCs are irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, allergic reactions, nausea, and dizziness.
An interesting study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) resulted in findings that the indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air, and paint is among the leading causes. Comparing the costs of purchasing the primer for painting, and the overcoat paint versus the purchasing costs of a 2 in 1 paint primer resulted in the exact cost. What can’t be factored into the cost of goods comparison is the effect on the environment, excess materials used, or excess time spent painting. Additional ways to reduce VOCs in homes and at work are to remove unused products that have are associated with high levels of VOCS. Paint containers left untouched in the home can still emit VOCS simply sitting on a shelf. Products stating “Low VOCs” can be found at most retail stores, and should be considered as the first step in reducing household/commercials VOCs.