The world is full of hundreds of kinds of paints, most of which contain carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and other chemicals that have no place in our homes. What to do?
This week I made my second trip to Green Depot in NYC, purveyor of healthy building products. With locations across the country and shipping available, their accessibility makes shopping for this project just that much easier.
Ivy Coatings is Green Depot’s “store brand” of paint, which makes it a budget-friendly choice amont the healthiest paints on the market, which include Mythic and AFM Safecoat, both excellent choices but pricier.
At about $35/gallon for eggshell, Ivy Coatings is comparable to other well-known premium paints. As a consumer, here’s one thing to keep in mind: many brands advertise as being zero-VOC but once the colorant or tint is added, the paint is no longer true zero-VOC. In other words, the base paint without color meets the zero-VOC guidelines, but the end product doesn’t measure up. VOC claims aside, any “green” claim doesn’t necessarily mean the product is all-around healthy. It can still contain formaldehyde or other chemicals including glycol ethers (“glymes” for short), which the EPA links to reproductive and developmental problems. I’ve had my own run-in with gymes while using a conventional primer that left me feeling quite sick. Sure enough, I checked the product ingredients online, and there were glymes in it. So as with everything, buyer beware.
According to the Green Depot website, “New paint smell? Beware! That odor is actually VOCs (volatile organic compounds) ‘offgassing’ into the air we breathe. VOCs in mainstream paints and wood finishes can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat; cause headaches and nausea; and damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Some are carcinogens. Alternative products labeled as ‘low VOC’ may contain other toxins, including formaldehyde and acetone.”
Ivy Coatings is also locally made in Brooklyn, NY, just a stone’s throw from the Healthy Home Project. As for other budget-friendly tips, go to the store with the contractor’s license number in order to get contractor pricing, which is often about 10% off at paint stores. Another way to stretch reno budgets is to check out the “oops paint” table of colors that didn’t turn out just right, or may have been returned. At Green Depot, I got a gallon of Yolo Colorhouse (another healthier brand) “oops paint” for $10. Oops paint is a great way to keep mismatched paint out of the landfill and put it to good use.
So here’s to lots of painting. I’m starting with one of the kids’ rooms this afternoon and then will progress on to the kitchen.