10 Best Non-VOC, Low-Toxic Interior Paints

10 Best Non-VOC, Low-Toxic Interior Paints

Gregory Han
May 15, 2008
(Image credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

Over at ATNY today, Aaron posted about an interesting New York Times article discussing local and federal laws governing VOCs and insight about various "green" paint products. A serendipitous discussion, as I spent a good part of late last evening discussing eco-friendly interior paints with a friend who is moving into her first apartment.

She wants to change her plain jane white walls into something more "bright" and "inviting," but without the chemicals and fumes of typical wall paints. So we put together this top ten list of best non-VOC, low-toxic interior house paints for her and you, our readers...

According to the EPA, the average home's interior air is three times more polluted than outdoor air (not the case in our home), and interior paints are often prime suspect for the source of this indoor pollution. Volatile organic compounds can slowly off-gas for years after initial application, and thus, manufacturers are now offering "non-toxic" formulas made from natural raw ingredients such as water, milk casein, natural latex, plant oils and resins, plant dyes and essential oils or with formulations containing VOC's in the range of 5 grams/litre or less per can (so technically, these do still contain toxic ingredients; adding a color tint usually brings the VOC level up to 10 grams/liter).

Here are 10 interior paints with low-VOC and/or natural ingredients.

Benjamin Moore Pristine EcoSpec Paint: contains less than 10 grams of VOC's per liter. Low odor, low VOC, 100% acrylic latex paint that comes in flat, egg-shell and semi gloss. You buy Eco-Spec as a base white and then get it mixed to color, which includes off-whites and neutrals, but does not include the darker and brighter colors.

Bioshield Clay and Casein paints: Natural raw ingredient paints; just add water to ready-to-mix powder.

Yolo Colorhouse: Water-based, Green Seal certified, and zero-VOC paint created by Portland, Oregon-based artists, Janie Young and Virginia Lowe. Available in a palette of 40 hues are specifically designed for interiors and categorized by nature's spectrum of air, grain, leaf, water, stone, clay and the bright hued petal range. Love their packaging!

Harmony Interior Latex: A Good Housekeeping choice, the Harmony line uses sustainable raw materials, like soy and sunflower oil in their formulation to keep solvent content low and VOCs in the zero-VOC range. Advertised as mildew and bacteria resistant.

Green Planet Paints: Soy-based resins with clay formulations and mineral pigments keep this line of paint as organic as your farmer's market produce. We like that disclose all ingredients in their paint formulas right there on the can.

Homestead House Paint Company: A 100% acrylic paint formulated to perform well on top of existing previous applications and has the appearance of milk paint.

Dunn-Edwards EcoShield: An MPI Green Performance Standard rated product, the low odor EcoShield line was created initially for use in schools, hospitals, hotels, homes and other closed-ventilation buildings, and is ethylene glycol free.

Wonder Pure Interior Latex Odor-Free Paints: Available in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss, the Devoe Wonder-Pure line is advertised as odour free and can be applied without sanding.

Olympic Premium: A Green Seal Certification "Class A" paint also awarded the Home Safety Council's Commendation Awards for Product Innovation for Consumer Safety.

Anna Sova Latex Wall Paint: the eco-branded Healthy Wall Finish contains 99% food grade ingredients, making this non-VOC paint a good choice for interior with children and pregnant women.

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