Stephen Treffinger in 2010 tested 10 brands of environmentally-friendly indoor paints. His criteria for choosing–very low in, or free of, VOCs (volatile organic compounds0 (e.g., toxic chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde).
Reprinted parts from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/garden/11roadtest.html?_r=0 (often times, these links disappear or are archived).
The Paints recommended while none of them was completely odor free. In some cases, the smell disappeared in an hour or so, making it unncessary to leave the house for an extended period of time.
FARROW & BALL ESTATE EMULSION
($80 A GALLON)
It went on easily and smelled of wet cement, but would be best for low-traffic areas, as it did not clean especially well; farrowandball.com.
YOLO COLORHOUSE INTERIOR NO-VOC PAINT
($44.95 A GALLON)
One of the easiest paints to clean, it had a slightly sour odor that
dissipated quickly and a chalky finish; yolocolorhouse.com.
SAFECOAT ZERO VOC FLAT
($49.95 A GALLON)
It was thicker than most, but went on smoothly, had a pleasant smell
and cleaned up well; afmsafecoat.com.
BENJAMIN MOORE NATURA
($49.99 A GALLON)
It can be tinted 3,000 shades, went on smoothly and was relatively
easy to clean; store.benjaminmoore.com.
MYTHIC INTERIOR FLAT LATEX
($49.99 A GALLON)
This paint comes in dynamic colors, has a nicely flat finish and a
mild ammonia smell and was easy to clean; mythicpaint.com.
STARK PAINT VELVET EMULSION
($76.70 A GALLON)
A creamy paint that went on smoothly and smelled of mild ammonia; (212) 752-9000.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on eco-friendly home paint brands, VISIT–
From Pam Gaulin in November 2007.
AFM Safecoat paints have been manufactured so that they release the least amount of toxic emissions into your home. The paint itself doe not contain chemical residuals, formaldehyde, or other harmful preservatives, according to AFM Safecoat. AFM Safecoat actually creates a “safe coat” over the paint.
Anna Sova paints are different than many other paints, even in the eco-friendly category. Their paints are made of “food-grade ingredients,” not of acrylics or other chemicals. This eco-friendly brand also offers aromatherapy blends, for paint that smells good.
Bioshield makes natural paints, including clay paints, and does not use additive or harmful chemicals.
Eco Spec by Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore makes an eco-friendly paint line for home interiors. Their Eco Spec paint line comes in a selection of quiet neutrals, and are 100% acrylic paint.
Green Planet Paints
Green Planet Paints are a Zero VOC interior paint. These interior home paints are also soy-based, and do not contain any petroleum. Instead, these unique eco friendly paints are made with clay-based pigments an other renewable materials, according to Green Planet Paints.
In addition to being eco-friendly, and being available in natural colors, the look of the finished painted walls is also organic.
Harmony Interior Latex Low Odor Coatings by Sherwin-Williams
Sherwin-Williams also makes a brand of eco friendly paints for those with environmental sensitivities. Their Harmony Interior Latex Low Odor Coatings have low odor, and no VOC. They also do not contain silica and are anti-microbial, according to Sherwin-Williams.
Horizon by Rodda Paint Company
Rodda Paint Company makes low-VOC interior paint under the Horizon brand name. Their eco-friendly home improvement products are Green-certified.
Yolo Colorhouse paint has the Green Seal certification, and is 100 percent acrylic paint, according to Yolo Colorhouse. This eco-friendly interior paint brand also has low odor, which is preferable for the DIY homeowner.
Yolo has also not added solvents or harmful chemicals. Best of all, this eco-friendly paint will go on like conventional wall paint. Yolo is available in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss, as we;l as primer.
Yolo Colorhouse interior paint colors are also environmentally-friendly. Their color groups include Air, Clay Grain, Leaf, Petal, Stone and Water.
Eco-Wise has a variety of zero VOC (volatile organic compound) house paint. Formaldehyde-free, and low odor, our paints have great coverage (350 to 400 square feet per gallon), and we even have a latex-free paint for those with latex sensitivity/allergy. We have our own colors, but we can also match most other paint companies’ colors.
AFM Safecoat, http://www.afmsafecoat.com
Anna Sova, http://annasova.com
Benjamin Moore, http://www.benjaminmoore.com
Green Planet Paints, http://greenplanetpaints.com
Rodda Paint, http://www.roddapaint.com
Yolo http://www.yolocolorhouse.com BFH – Building for Health http://www.buildingforhealth.com/product-category/paints-stains-finishes/Old Fashioned Milk Paint http://www.milkpaint.com/
“Nonlegacy PCBs: Pigment Manufacturing By-Products Get a Second Look”
In the event, this web page is taken down for whatever reason, here is a reprint:
|Types of Non-Toxic Paints and FinishesThe term “non-toxic” is used here in its broadest sense. With paints and finishes, it’s more a matter of degree. Even Zero-VOC formulations contain some small amounts of toxins. Here are three general categories of non-toxic (or low-toxic) paints: Natural Paints, Zero VOC, and Low VOCNatural Paints and Finishes – These are paints made from natural raw ingredients such as water, plant oils and resins, plant dyes and essential oils; natural minerals such as clay, chalk and talcum; milk casein, natural latex, bees’ wax, earth and mineral dyes. Water-based natural paints give off almost no smell. The oil-based natural paints usually have a pleasant fragrance of citrus or essential oils. Allergies and sensitivities to these paints is uncommon. These paints are the safest for your health and for the environment.|
|Aglaia – plant-based natural paints and finishes for many applications. Available throughout the UK. No US distribution. (www.aglaiapaint.com)
Livos – organic paint, stains, oils and waxes made using all natural ingredients. Coatings are linseed oil and citrus oil based, non toxic, low VOC and are designed primarily for wood. (www.livos.us)
Auro – solvent-free, water-based natural paints and primers, finishes, stains and adhesives. Ships to US and Canada. (www.aurousa.com)
EcoDesign’s BioShield – line of natural paints and finishes. (www.bioshieldpaint.com)
Weather-Bos – line of natural stains, finishes and paints. Blends of natural oils and resins designed to adhere to the wood, forming a monolithic bond. (www.weatherbos.com)
SoyGuard – soy-based exterior stains, water repellants and sealers for wood surfaces. (www.soyguard.com)
Silacote – made from natural mineral compounds, for use on masonry, concrete and wallboard; interior/exterior. (www.silacote.com)
Anna Sova – natural paints from milk casein, titanium dioxide and food-grade ingredients. (www.annasova.com)
Green Planet Paints – high performance natural paints for interiors based on plants and minerals. (www.greenplanetpaints.com)
The Real Milk Paint Company – non-toxic paint made with milk protein, lime, clay and earth pigments.
Masters Blend – natural wood finishes based on tungnut oil, for woodwork, furniture, carvings, cutting boards, brick and concrete. (www.mastersblendfinish.com)
|Zero VOC – Any paint with VOC’s in the range of 5 grams/litre or less can be called “Zero VOC”, according to the EPA Reference Test Method 24. Some manufacturers may claim “Zero-VOC’s”, but these paints may still use colorants, biocides and fungicides with some VOC’s.
Adding a color tint usually brings the VOC level up to 10 grams/liter, which is still quite low.
|Earthpaint – Nontoxic paint, wood finish, floor finish, deck stain. http://www.earthpaint.net
ECOS Paints – Zero-VOC and zero ethylene glycol paints, varnishes and wood stains. All odorless, organic, non-toxic and non-allergenic. Also specialty VOC absorbing paints. Ecos Paints is a leader in the field of VOC-free, organic paints, and ships direct to homes throughout the US and Canada, the UK, France and Germany. www.ecospaints.net
AFM Safecoat – Flat interior latex; semi-gloss interior enamel. http://www.afmsafecoat.com
ICI Lifemaster 2000 – Flat, Eggshell, semi-gloss interior; primer.(800 984-5444)
Best Paint Company – Zero-VOC Interior paints, primers and specialty products (faux glaze, varnish replacement, etc) and Low-VOC Exterior paints and primers. (www.bestpaintco.com)
ICI Decra-Shield – exterior zero-VOC paints. (800 984-5444)
Kelly-Moore Enviro-Cote – ENVIRO-COTE line of paints are zero-VOC. (916 921-0165)
Devoe Wonder Pure – odor-free interior acrylic latex paints. (www.devoepaint.com)
Enso– Ultra low odor, zero-VOC, ethylene glycol-free interior paints. Primer, flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss. Manufactured by Dunn-Edwards. (www.dunnedwards.com)
American Pride – Zero-VOC interior latex and acrylic enamel paints. (www.americanpridepaint.com)
Sherwin Williams – new HARMONY line of zero-VOC low-odor latex interior paints. Flat, eggshell, semi-gloss and primer. (www.sherwin.com)
Frazee Paint EnviroKote – line of interior zero-VOC paints: semi-gloss, flat, and primer.
Allied PhotoChemical – supplies zero-VOC, UV-curable paints, inks and coatings to manufacturers. (www.alliedphotochemical.com)
Olympic Paint and Stain – Zero-VOC Olympic Premium interior line.
Yolo Colorhouse – Zero-VOC, low-odor, premium interior paint. (yolocolorhouse.com)
Green Planet Paints – Zero-VOC, clay-based interior paints. (greenplanetpaints.com)
Benjamin Moore Pristine EcoSpec – Zero-VOC, under 1 gram/liter. Flat, eggshell, semi-gloss finishes and a primer.
Mythic Paints – Zero-VOC, interior and exterior paints, primers. (mythicpaint.com)
PPG Architectural Finishes – Pittsburgh Paints Pure Performance line
Homestead Paints – Zero-VOC, flat and low-sheen interior paints. (homesteadhouse.ca)
Vista Paint – Zero-VOC low-odor Carefree Earth Coat line
EarthSafePaints – Zero- and Low-VOC line of craft paints and finishes, marine finishes, home decor paints. (earthsafefinishes.com)
|Low VOC – Low VOC paints, stains and varnishes use water as a carrier instead of petroleum-based solvents. As such, the levels of harmful emissions are lower than solvent-borne surface coatings. These certified coatings also contain no, or very low levels, of heavy metals and formaldehyde. The amount of VOC’s varies among different “low-VOC” products, and is listed on the paint can or MSDS. Paints and stains, to meet EPA standards. must not contain VOCs in excess of 200 grams per litre. Varnishes must not contain VOCs in excess of 300 grams per liter. As a general rule, low VOC paints marketed by reputable paint manufacturers usually meet the 50 g/L VOC threshold. Paints with the Green Seal Standard (GS-11) mark are certified lower than 50 g/L (for flat sheen) or 150 g/L (for non-flat sheen).
Low VOC paints will still emit an odor until dry. If you are particularly sensitive, make sure the paint you buy contains fewer than 25 grams/liter of VOC’s.
|Benjamin Moore Aura – Low VOC, covers most surfaces in a single coat, durable, scrubbable.
Benjamin Moore Saman – Water-based wood stains
Cloverdale Horizon – Flat, Eggshell, Semi-Gloss interior enamels
Cloverdale EcoLogic – Low VOC, under 10 grams/liter. Flat, Eggshell, Semi-Gloss interior.
Miller Paint – Acro solvent-free interior acrylic line
OIKOS Paints – Interior and exterior paints, low voc, solvent-free. (www.oikos-paint.com)
Timber Ox Green – vegetable oil based, low voc wood stain and preservatives. (www.timberoxinfo.com)
|VOC Absorbing Paints – these specialty paints contain an active ingredient that absorbs VOCs like formaldehyde. They remain trapped (cannot be removed) within the product indefinitely. They are:|
|Atmosphere Purifying Wallpaint (APP) – a matt/flat finish wallpaint designed to absorb from underlying surfaces and also from the atmosphere in the painted room.
MDF Passivating Primer (MDFP) – a base-coat/primer for man-made or remanufactured timer type products (like MDF and ply) which typically off-gas formaldehyde in particular.
Anti-Formaldehyde Radiator (AFR) Paint – new hot water radiators can off-gas formaldehyde for many months (sometimes as long as two years). AFR traps this before it can enter the atmosphere.MDFP and AFR are remedial solutions for particular situations. APP is very commonly used over existing paints, or in spaces with new carpets or furnishings that are off-gassing. It is frequently applied to a ceiling (being a matt finish it looks like any other wall/ceiling paint) in cases where other items in the room are the cause of the problem.APP, MDFP and AFR paints are available at ECOS Paints.ECOS Paints ships direct to homes throughout the US and Canada, the UK, France and Germany
|Ethylene Glycol – a solvent used in latex paints, is listed as a hazardous substance and a toxic air contaminant under many federal and state regulations. A clear, colorless, odorless liquid, ethylene glycol and its vapor can be toxic to humans. Exposure may cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and allergic reactions are possible. Overexposure could lead to nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, coma, and respiratory failure. Repeated overexposure can permanently damage the kidneys. Ethylene glycol-free paints are available at Dunn Edwards.|