Thinking of painting your house or doing a spot of DIY? Well I was and I was searching the net looking for a good deal and I came across organic and eco paints.
My first thought was how can paint be organic? Isnt that for vegetables?
I did some more research and found that the term organic can be a highly misleading term when applied to paint so many companies dont use it and tend to use the term eco or natural instead. Unlike the food and textile industry, there is currently no legally defined standard or recognised certification scheme in place for organic paints just like soap pods (what are soap pods I hear you ask?).
It is possible for some organically grown plants to be utilised in the manufacture of some of the natural paints and to obtain organic pigments from some plants and insects, but these are not ideally suited to use in paint because they tend to fade.
It has been found that ingredients such as the solvents, acrylics and acrylic softeners used in most conventional paints are hazardous both to health and the environment as paints consist essentially of pigments (the colourant), the binding agent (which binds the colourant to the surface) and of solvents, (which keep the paint in suspension until applied). As the paint dries the solvent evaporates and leaves the dried paint on the surface. This process is the same with all paints.
But as the paint begins to dry, components called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air causing toxic air pollution (that nasty smell) and increasing your chances of becoming chemically sensitive. These and other chemical compounds can cause chest complaints, aggravate allergies, contribute to the greenhouse effect and pollute the environment.
Most paint manufacturers set out to make a paint that is non toxic and doesnt give off VOCs so it will be a safe paint for humans as well as environmentally safe. Unfortunately, research has found that most organic paints and components release VOCs.
The vital difference between conventional paint and eco/natural paints lies in using as many eco friendly and natural ingredients as possible as pigments, binding agents and solvents.
People should also look to buy paints made in their own country as not only does it reduce the pollution caused by the transport of the end products and sometimes the raw materials, it also supports a more local approach to buying goods and services.