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Surfaces: Coatings That Are Helpful Not Harmful

Posted by Ellen Strickland on

The very ingredients added to improve the performance of finishes also create air pollution problems. Solvents and chemicals included in paints, stains, and sealants “offgas” (or give off fumes) and cause many health and environmental problems

Internationally, there has been a demand to develop standards for emission testing on all paints, stains and sealants that emit toxic chemicals and fumes into the atmosphere.

Manufacturers of coatings in Europe now have to decrease volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 70% during manufacture and use. Adverse reactions and damaging side effects are now more regularly noted by both residents in newly painted homes and the painters painting them. Many of the chemical cocktails we have created to finish our buildings are now known to cause serious physical and neurological damage, not to mention the reports of increased immun-system disorders.

Here in the U.S. we are also reformulating and redesigning healthier solutions. If you want to add accents of color to a room, minimize dust on a rough surface, or seal a wood floor from dirt or moisture, there are options to conventional treatments:

  • Paints, stains and sealant with formaldehyde, ammonia and benzine removed
  • Natural wax finishes and natural oils from wood resin to treat wooden floors and minimize electrostatic charge
  • Weather-resistant finishes from tree resins, sodium carbonate and wood ash for outside protective use and to reduce fungal and insect infestation
  • Whitewash for plaster that also kills bacteria
  • Natural-based paints derived from plants, trees, resins, and waxes to reduce allergic reactions
  • Soy-based gels that “eat” the paint off a surface to remove it without using toxic chemicals

We can make surfaces beautiful without sacrificing performance and care or hurting ourselves in the process.

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