PAINT OR PAIN?
Is there anything big a deal about the paint you choose to use other than your color and texture preferences? Is there more to paint than how it looks and feels? Well, chances are in the times we live in, you’re already aware there is. But on the off chance that you don’t, let me elaborate why there is.
The “big deal” lies in the chemical composition of the paint or coating you choose to use. Some traditional ingredients and formulae used in paint and coatings have been shown to have a negative effect on the surrounding environment. But if you are tired of being bombarded with reminders of our choices and their impact on the dire state of the environment, this should still interest you since the paint you use also can have a direct impact on your health!
Why, you ask? Well, to sum it up in three words – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). These are chemicals with a high vapor pressure. All this means is that these chemicals have a low boiling point and therefore will evaporate (emitting gases) at low (even room) temperatures. Paints and coatings contain additives and compounds with high vapor pressure. One example is benzene. It is often used as a solvent in paints, glues, mothballs, and other household cleaning products. Exposure to benzene is speculated to cause cancer, but also shown to cause liver and kidney failure, and damage to the nervous system (brain included).
Irritation in the throat, nose, conjunctiva are some symptoms of exposure to VOCs. VOCs also trigger allergic reactions in the skin, labored breathing (dyspnea), nausea, vomiting (emesis), nose-bleeding (epistaxis), dizziness, and fatigue. The symptoms I’ve listed are only some of them.
So what are your options when choosing paints?
Well, for starters you can buy paints with low-VOCs. You can also find paints with additives different to the traditional formulae used in paints and coatings. If you are discouraged by fear of not being able to find such options, there’s no need to be. These options are more available in the market than you may think.
Over the last decade, consumers have increasingly become more aware and conscious to the effects on health and the environment, this added to the ever tightening regulations of governments and international forums around the world, has fuelled the race for manufacturers to deliver safer, greener and healthier products.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the innovations created in recent times. Let’s begin with low-VOC paint. As the name suggests, this is paint with low levels of volatile organic compounds, meeting internationally recognized norms. We have these new as well as existing regulatory bodies tighten their noose on the compositions of building materials such as paint. Part of those regulations has been capping the amount of VOCs that are used in paint formulas for anything manufactured or imported into their respective countries.
Another innovation is zero-VOC paint. Realistically speaking, there is such thing as zero-VOC paint. But the competition to produce safer products has pushed a lot of manufacturers to achieve significantly lower levels of VOCs in their products than the standards defined in low-VOC. Zero-VOC paints have less than 5g of VOC per liter of paint.
One last innovation we can look at is on the front of additives. Additives in paints and coatings do not take up a significant portion in paints and coatings (0.5–5.0 wt. %). However they do affect the chemical and visual properties of the paints critically. They do everything from affecting their opacity/translucency, and texture, to colors and pigmentation. Research and development has also been poured into this front to facilitate eco-friendlier and healthier outcomes to be made available to the market.
At Basco Paints we are committed to providing World class paints to our customers. Our endeavor is to provide products that are not just the best in performance, but also safe, and minimize the impact on our environment. In continuation of the same objective Basco Products converted the entire range of Duracoat & Duracoat Royale Water-Based decorative products to Low –VOC in 2011 and we will continue to ensure that we provide paints that are environment friendly for the good of our customers.
By Mr. Kamlesh Shah, MD Basco Paints