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Non Green Paint

The EPA has shown that when new paint is drying, indoor VOC levels can be 1,000 times the outdoor levels of VOC. For example, Southern California's South Coast Air Quality Management District estimates that paint emissions from homes and other structures in their region give off about 60 tons per day of VOC vapors in their region while gas stations and oil refineries give off about 44 tons per day.1 The reasons why paints give off so many vapors is because of the VOCs which evaporate into the air easily and because of the large surface areas typically covered by paint. Since many paints are toxic, California requires that conventional paints be disposed of as toxic waste.
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Because paints are usually applied in occupied spaces, people are more likely to be exposed to the vapors from freshly painted surfaces. The VOC emissions from paints can continue even six months after application. The main sources for these VOCs are gloss paint and wood stain varnishes in newly constructed homes.2 The largest emissions of VOCs come mainly from the
solvents in paints.


What can I do with old paint, gasoline or chemicals from my home? Maybe you’ve recently bought an existing house, or a loved one has passed and you’re cleaning out their house. There, in the garage, crawlspace or outbuilding sits a dusty shelf loaded with a cob-webbed variety of who-knows-what. Old cans of paint, solvents, spray insecticides, liquid fertilizers – maybe even a can of gasoline that you wouldn’t dare to even try in your old lawnmower. Dumping them down the drain or putting them in the trash doesn’t seem quite right, but what exactly are you supposed to do with all this junk? One lesson should be apparent: the next time you have to buy this sort of material, consider how much you really need for the job, and whether there are any less-toxic alternatives.


















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