If you’re thinking about a home improvement project at your house, chances are that there will be some painting involved. As you’re choosing the paint you’re going to use in your home, you may want to give some consideration to the health effects that the paint will have on your family. How do you know what’s safe? Well, one way is to look for the Green Seal of approval.
You may very well be asking what the Green Seal is. Good question! Green Seal is a non-profit organization that is concerned with environmental sustainability. They offer product certification, environmental standard setting and public education. In their own words, Green Seal does the following:
• identifies products that are designed and manufactured in an environmentally responsible manner;
• offers scientific analyses to help consumers make educated purchasing decisions regarding environmental impacts;
• ensures consumers that any product bearing the Green Seal Certification Mark has earned the right to use it; and
• encourages manufacturers to develop new products that are significantly less damaging to the environment than their predecessors.
In 1993, Green Seal developed the standard for new paint, GS-11. In order for a paint to have Green Seal approval, it must be low-VOC (50g/L for untinted flat interior paint). VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. These compounds cause significant vapor pressures that can affect human health and the environment—for years after the paint has dried. To give you a means of comparison, the EPA allows for 250 g/L of VOCs in untinted interior flat paint versus Green Seal’s 50 g/L. Furthermore, for paint to earn a Green Seal, it can’t contain harmful compounds or heavy metals. The paint also must be tested for scrubability, hiding power and washability. If a company changes its paint formula after it earns a Green Seal, the paint must be retested to retain its Green Seal approval.
What that means for the consumer is that you can look for the Green Seal of approval as you are choosing the paint for your interior painting project. You can buy these products with the assurance that they are as safe as they can be for your family.
Another consideration is that if you are hiring a painter to complete your project, make sure you let him or her know that you want to use a paint that is Green-Seal approved. Two manufacturers that you can check out which have earned Green Seal approval are the Master Paints Chemical Corporation (Eco Pure Interior line) and YOLO Colorhouse.
You can explore the Green Seal Web site for more information about safe products for a sustainable lifestyle.