Choosing Non-Toxic Paints for a Healthier Home

Many people, when they set out to liven up their interior walls are only concerned with finding the perfect colour of their dreams.  This is a mistake because there is much more to choosing paint than just the shade.

Contained within paints are VOCs or volatile organic compounds that cause toxic exposure when inhaled.  The EPS has done studies and found that indoor VOCs can be as much as 10 times more concentrated than outdoor VOCs, especially during painting or when paint is still fresh.  Something to take note of is that when the EPA regulates the VOC content of paints they are concerned with outdoor air quality implications and not indoor.  This is backwards to the homeowner who is more concerned with the air quality inside.

Non-Toxic Paints for a Healthier Home

What to make of brands claiming “LOW” or “NO” VOC content?

Not all regulation and testing is the same so many paints that claim certain VOC concentrations are missing the mark.  These low or no VOC paints may be better than the vast majority of products available but are themselves not fully safe.  Many of these paints can still contain formaldehyde or glycol ethers or other irritants.  If you as the consumer want to be safe from the chemicals then your best bet is to look only at paints that are certified by independent testing organizations like “Green Seal” or “ Scientific Certification Systems”.  These independent certifications scan for VOCs and other harmful, non-VOC compounds such as carcinogens and heavy metals.

The colour you choose makes a difference

The rule of thumb in this instance is that the deeper the tint of your paint, the more pigment is needed.  The more pigment that is needed inherently increases the amount of harmful VOCs present in the paint.  Consider using lighter hues and shades in order to minimize the amount of colourant used.

Using natural paints in your home

There are natural paints available on the market for health conscious consumers so don’t worry.  These organic paints are created from chalk, casein, lime, clay, citrus oil and linseed oil.  They feature the lowest concentrations of harmful VOCs and will be the best for your health.  As with other paints types, these natural paints may still contain harmful pollutants aside from VOCs so it is always best to check a paint brand against records from Green Seal or Scientific Certification Systems.

Staying safe while painting

Choose the best and cleanest paint you can find and don’t be too obsessed about a certain shade.  There are many alternatives that can look just as good if not better than what you had in mind.  You can consider making your own paint as well but this method takes some practice so results may not be exactly how you envisioned.  Either way, make sure you open all the windows and ventilate your homed during and after any interior painting to allowsthe paint to fully off-gas before you return to the room.

At Ottawa Precision Painting we know that your health is the number one priority when it comes to you life inside your home and we do all our painting accordingly. We feature only low or no VOC paints and we are able to fully disclose information about the paints we use.  Our professional painters are also able to use any paint of your choice and give you helpful advice on getting the job done correctly. Check us out on our website that you can visit at

If you’re looking to reinvent your home, let our professional painters do the job right and on time for you.