Eco-Friendly Decorating Products?
All types of building and related construction activity, including painting and decorating, has an impact on the environment. More recently, due to legislation, the painting industry is realising that it has a huge part to play – both in causing environmental damage and in helping to restore the balance.
We want to contribute, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and paint in a “sustainable” way.
Painting and decorating have been made easier with the development of many easy-to-use products. Not only is there a vast array of products for different applications but also may come in a myriad of colours. In order to reduce the risk to the user and the environment due to exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOC), the Directive on the Limitations of Emissions due to the use of organic solvents in certain Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products, (Decorative Paints Directive) Directive 2004/42/EC, limits the VOC content of these widely used products. The Directive was enacted into Irish law by the Limitation of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds due to the use of certain Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2007 (Statutory Instrument 199 of 2007). This has been replaced by S.I. No. 564 of 2012 - European Union (Paints, Varnishes, Vehicle Refinishing Products and Activities) Regulations 2012.
Effects of Paint Pollution
Prolonged or high exposure to paint and paint fumes can cause headaches, trigger allergies and asthmatic reactions, irritate skin, eyes and airways, and put increased stress on vital organs such as the heart. This is especially concerning for children.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a 20%- 40% increased risk of certain types of cancer (in particular lung cancer) for those who come into regular contact with, or work with paint while Danish researchers point to the added possibility of neurological damage.
Volatile Organic Compounds
As paint is applied, the World Health Organisation report that the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) given off are as much as 1000 times higher than found outdoors.
During the life-time of the paint on your walls, it will also continue to release chemicals into the environment as invisible paint pollution.
Effects On The Environment
When VOC’s react with oxygen, they can form ‘bad’ ozone in the presence of sunlight. This is a contributory factor to the greenhouse effect and a cause of global warming. One study by C.E.P.E. attributes paints and varnishes to causing as much as five percent of all VOC emissions.