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What is Eco Safe Paint?

Green paints are defined by their lack or low level of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These are the toxic fumes emitted from most synthetic-based paints. VOCs can be harmful to people and the environment, in the manufacturing process and during and after application. It takes years for them to completely disappear and often, by then, it's time to repaint. VOCs are the culprits behind the heady scent of paint, and they have been blamed for everything from asthma to polluting indoor-air quality.

The combined effect of VOCs, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals in synthetic paints and finishes is a major contributor to poor indoor air quality, known as "sick building syndrome" and also to toxic pollution of our atmosphere, waterways and environment.

The air we breathe and the environment we live in contribute to our health and wellbeing. Synthetic paints and finishes can give off fumes for up to five years after their application. Eco friendly paints and finishes ensure these emissions are not hazardous to the painter, the inhabitants, or our environment.

With low or no VOCs, eco safe paint doesn't smell and mould and mildew are less likely to develop, making it much healthier for your family. Green paints are a great choice for people with respiratory symptoms, allergies, chemical sensitivities and particularly for pregnant women and young children.

So why are VOCs traditionally used in manufacturing paint?
VOCs may well be considered toxic, but they are often the same compounds and chemicals that allow a paint to be durable, washable and dry quickly and easily. Ultralast is the first eco safe paint to warranty its product for as long (and in a lot of cases even longer) than traditional synthetic paint. "We have managed to take out the VOCs and achieve the same durability, it's a perfect combination" says Steven Nikolovski - CEO of Ultralast.

Potential hazards of chemical based paint
According to the EPA, the concentration of pollutants inside your home is several times higher than what you'll find outside, due to the lack of ventilation in rooms compared to the open spaciousness of the great outdoors. Without proper ventilation, airborne chemicals collect indoors and eventually cause damage to our bodies. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, asthma, cancer, and heart disease are all potential side effects of indoor air pollution. Although the contamination cannot be attributed to any single source, paint and paint-related chemicals play a significant role inside a typical home.

The airborne chemicals released during painting, after the paint is dry, and as paint is removed, fall into a category of pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs)-potentially carcinogenic carbon-based chemicals that evaporate easily and contribute to indoor air pollution. Harmful compounds in the VOC category range from formaldehyde to pesticides to cleaning chemicals. They can be up to ten times more concentrated indoors than outdoors, in both rural and industrial locations. However, VOCs contribute significantly to air pollution out of doors as well. VOCs are released in the highest concentrations during paint application, but most paint will continue to emit harmful fumes for years afterwards.

The quality of many natural paints is commonly criticized because, in times past, colors tended to fade and you could not wash the walls without a touch-up following close behind. Newer eco paints, especially some newer lime washes, are more durable, washable, and longer lasting than those that came before them-some are even used for the restoration and preservation of national monuments!

Low-VOC Paints
Due to environmental regulations and increasing consumer demand, paint companies have developed new house paints that emit little or no VOCs. This is achieved by using water as a base instead of traditional, petroleum-based oil solvents. "Low-VOC" paints must meet the EPA standard of a maximum 200 grams volatile compound per liter of paint. Varnishes are awarded a limit of 300 grams. Although this is already less than half the VOC content of typical paints, Green Seal-a non-profit organization dedicated to improving environmental standards for paint and other products-has developed a certification process that limits low-VOC paints to 50 grams of VOC per liter. Look for the Green Seal on paint products to ensure only the lowest VOC paints are used in your home.

Ultra low-VOC paints are labeled "zero-VOC." These paints can sometimes cost a bit more than the regular cans, but the EPA restricts this label to paints with less than 5 grams of volatile compound per liter. Check to make sure that the products contain little or no formaldehyde, ammonia, or acetone-non-petroleum compounds that can adversely affect indoor air quality. Biocides and fungicides that prevent mildew growth and extend the shelf life of paint are also commonly added, despite their toxicity and their tendency to off gas for years after application.

What's in int? (An article from the Green magazine)