AT Email: The Best Green & Eco Paints We Know Of - 3.11.08

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March 11, 2008

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In a conversations this weekend about Apartment Therapy (down in Florida), I found myself reminding people that you can make a huge impact on a room - totally transform it - without spending huge amounts of money by painting. Which is true. It is also true that painting can be hugely toxic, and that the EPA considers indoor air pollution one of the top five hazards to human health. And it is also true that paints and finishes are among the leading causes of indoor air pollution. So, what do you do?

Find a paint that's less or non toxic.

But that can be hard due to the fact that paint suppliers are usually local and greenwashing makes it hard to separate true eco paints from the pretenders. Here, then, is a list of the best sources we know of to help you out.

Low VOC paints - These have "Low Volatile Organic Compounds" which makes them "better" but certainly not totally green. They tend to be bigger companies and therefore more available. Use these if you have no other choice.

Zero VOC Paints - These are even better, having zero to a very low amount of VOC's and represent much harder work on the part of the paint companies to remove toxins from their paints. Some are even non-toxic. Try to start on this level if possible!

Natural Paints - These are the safest for your health and the environment, but often have more limited palettes.

While you will find the bigger companies sold in your neighborhood, the smaller ones are available online and will send you color samples and matchpots to make it easier. I recommend experimenting with the smaller companies. Not only can they use the support, but they are more likely to be truly pushing the envelope.

Best,

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