Do you REALLY know what is in your home?
or, more specifically, on your walls?
Hi everyone! Thank you for reading Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists blog! Today we are going to look more closely at what is REALLY in your home and on your walls.
As humans, we don’t really think about the paint on our walls… yes, we see the color, yes sometimes we even smell the paint… but have you ever wondered what you’re breathing in? Have you ever wondered what you’re children are exposed to daily?
More specifically we are going to compare lacquer with Emerald Urethane.
Lacquer is a liquid made of shellac dissolved in alcohol, or of synthetic substances, that dries to form a hard protective coating for wood, metal, etc.
Catalyzed lacquer is a hybrid reactive finish that cures chemically, not solely through the evaporation of solvents
Lacquer has over 600 VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) they are the gases emitted from the product.
“EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s “Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study” (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.” – EPA
Even though lacquer has such a HIGH VOC level painters still choose to use it because it dries quickly and is a good resistance to household chemicals.
Click here for all of the chemicals in lacquer.
Now let’s compare those numbers to Emerald Urethane
Emerald Urethane has a less than 50 VOC level.
Click here for the data sheet from Sherwin-Williams site with all of the chemicals in Emerald.
The higher the VOC level, the longer it will take for it to clear the air. High VOC levels can cause harm to the painters and those who are in the home, even after the painting is complete.
Possible health effects include:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
- Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
- Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.
Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include:
- conjunctival irritation
- nose and throat discomfort
- allergic skin reaction
- declines in serum cholinesterase levels
Tips to reduce your VOC Exposure:
Tip 1: Buy only what you need
When it comes to household chemicals, break the habit of buying in bulk to save money and simply buy what you need. Stored chemicals are a major source of VOCs, even when the container is closed up tight. Whenever possible, buy low-VOC versions of products. Many “green” brands are only slightly more expensive than conventional versions.
Tip 2: Store smelly stuff in a detached shed
Paints, paint thinners, pesticides, and gas cans are a major source of VOCs. The further away from your house you store these smelly items, the better. A detached shed is ideal. Use it to store gas-powered tools, too—lawn mowers, snow blowers, and chain saws.
If you have leftover pesticides, paint, and other chemicals, contact your municipal waste department to find out where you can dispose of them safely.
Tip 3: Seal off your attached garage
If you have an attached garage, you’ve got vehicles with VOC-producing gas tanks right next to your living area. Plus, if a detached shed isn’t an option, you’re likely to use your garage to store your chemicals, gas cans, and other VOC-spewing products.
If that’s the case, seal up any connections between your garage and living area. Weatherstrip your garage access door, and make sure that the threshold gasket is snugged up tight.
Sometimes connections aren’t obvious—loose holes around ductwork can leak garage air into your basement where an air return duct collects and disperses VOCs all over the house. Button up these gaps with caulk and foam sealant.
Tip 4: Your nose knows
Weather permitting, open windows and run exhaust fans when you’re working with paints and pungent cleaners. Trust your nose—if you can smell it, you’re whiffing VOCs. That includes any time you bring vinyl or plastic items (say, a new shower curtain) or dry-cleaned clothes into the house.
If weather permits, remove covers and packaging from items and set them outside for a while to off-gas—at least until they don’t smell. Schedule major interior paint jobs for good weather so you can open up windows.
Tip 5: Exhaust your possibilities
Bathroom and kitchen fans are great for removing VOCs from the air, especially because cooking and cleaning can release some potent, even carcinogenic, compounds. But if you run exhaust fans constantly, you create negative air pressure inside the house that may draw air—and VOCs—from your attached garage into your home.
Run fans until any chemical or smoke smell dissipates, then turn them off. If you use your garage as a regular work area for VOC-generating hobbies, such as woodworking, install an exhaust fan to the outside. Exhaust fans cost $250 to $400, installed.
Tip 6: Ditch the air fresheners
The health evidence against plug-in and spray air fresheners is mounting; many emit chemicals and ultra-fine particulates that aren’t identified on the label. Some also contain terpene, a fragrant chemical that’s widely found in natural substances, such as pine resins.
But when confined inside a house, terpenes react with naturally occurring ozone in the air and form compounds that have long-term effects on the respiratory system (asthma, for example).
The alternative? Keep a clean house, use environmentally friendly cleaners, and get a whiff of pine scent while taking a nice long walk outside.
Tip 7: Read the label
Before hiring a painting company or purchasing your own products, read the label and know the product!
Refuse the use of any high VOC products in your home.
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🕺Thanks for reading!💃