What is a VOC? Science & Safety
VOC is an acronym for Volatile Organic Compounds. 40 years ago, the vast majority of paint products were oil-based, not latex. This oil-based paint contained high amounts of harmful chemicals and carbon-containing substances, Volatile Organic Compounds.
Over time when the paint is at room temperature, these gasses will vaporize in a process called off-gassing. You may not be able to smell it but the chemicals being released is a cause for some nasty health concerns!
Side Effects of HIGH VOC’s
Breathing in higher amounts of VOCs can cause eye irritations, nose and throat irritations, as well as cause difficulty breathing and nausea.
Long term this caused difficulty breathing, dizziness, and other health conditions including cancer.
Luckily with government regulations and consumer awareness, an alternative formula and new solutions are being used for blending, tinting and matching paint!
Today some options have either Low- VOCs or No – VOC’s depending on the type of tinting used. You have a variety of brands, colours, and formulas to choose from.
Every paint product has a different level of VOCs, the lower the VOC content the less risk.
As an example, water-based paint is most commonly used in interior paints due to its low – VOC measure, so you can feel confident about your health!
What is the difference between no VOC and Low VOC?
The difference between “low” and “no” VOC is the number of off-gasses that are emitted into the air from the paint.
What level of VOC is safe?
A safe level of VOC is considered to be less than 99g per litre of paint. However, this is based on a package paint product that has not been tinted to achieve colour. Once you choose your colour and the paint gets tinted the VOC content increases.
Painting with your Health in Mind
Ask for paint and tinting with a Low VOC or no VOC!
- Low VOC in paints means that there is a reduced amount of volatile organic compounds.
- Lower emission of VOCs in paint means that the paint will not give off high amounts of toxins or gasses from the paint.
- It is also important to remember that this is based on the paint being “untinted”.
- Once you add pigment or colour to it, the VOC content increases in both “low” and “No” VOC paints.
At Holloway Painting, we always choose the appropriate paint for that specific project. For painting the interior and exterior of homes or places of business; the paint specifications would almost always call for a Low or No VOC’s paint to avoid any lingering smells and fumes. This allows us to ensure we minimize any potential health-related concerns for our clients and our staff. Requiring the use of a high VOC paint would be extremely rare and would be almost very situational. At Holloway Painting we would always have this conversation with our client in advance.