Eco Paints: Many Kinds, Many Reasons

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Don't throw out the baby because of the paint water. Because one of my clients is having twins in June, I have been on a mission to find non-toxic paint for her apartment. Having a baby will make you particularly sensitive to toxins in the environment, but I have long believed that there are better ways of treating ourselves and our planet. Why wait for babies? Christi Graham, at Healthy Home Designs, has a great description of the whole situation. Basically, typical paint releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) into the air which before evaporating can get into our bodies, resulting in eye and skin irritation, lung and breathing problems, headaches, nausea, muscle weakness and liver and kidney damage. This is particularly true for people who are elderly, pregnant or have compromised immune systems. The solution? Proper ventilation and low or zero VOC paint, which is made by many companies (see below) and which can be found right here in NYC. Stopping by my favorite haunt, Janovic Plaza, I found that they stock Benjamin Moore's Pristine line of paints AND that they don't cost much more than regular latex paint: $36 for a gallon of custom color latex and $40 for a gallon of custom color Pristine (the white is $10 cheaper). Problems? Colors are somewhat limited, with a predominance of earth tones and reds showing up frequently in many product lines. The fun part is that this limitation really opens the doors to a whole new style and experimentation, which I plan to try out. And for for those who want to really dive in deep, here is a recipe for Milk Paint. MGR

Manufacturers / Distributors:

Coat primers, paints and sealers - by American Formulating and manufacturing (AFM)
Auro Natural paints - by Sinan Company
Pristine Eco-Spec Paint - by Benjamin Moore & Co.
Bio Shield paints and stains - by Bioshield
Genesis odor-free paint - by Duron
Milk-based (casein) paints and natural pigments - by the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company
ProMaster paint - by Glidden/ICI
Livos non-toxic paint and thinners - by Livos Phytochemistry
Tempo paint - by McCormick Paint
Low biocide paint - by Miller Paint Company

Casein Milk Solids, Lime, Clay, Cellulose, Asbestos-Free Talcum, Salt (Sodium Phosphate), BioShield Pigments.

milk paint recipe

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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