VOC Testing + What Makes Country Chic Paint Environmentally-Friendly?
If you enjoy painting your home and furniture, you must have heard lots of chatter about “VOCs” in paint. But you might wonder, what are these so-called Volatile Organic Compounds? When can a company truly call their paint low VOC versus ultra low VOC? And to make things even more convoluted, are paint pigments included in the VOC count?
Most importantly, we should be asking if VOCs are harmful to our health or our family’s health. With the explosion of popularity in furniture paint, many companies are making claims about the safety of their products. We believe that it is crucial to ask questions about the validity of these claims. Often claims go unsubstantiated and we want to change that.
Instead of simply stating that we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products, we want to explain to you in detail what VOCs are all about and if they are truly harmful to our well-being and to the environment.
To take it a step further, we also want to share our test results with you in an effort to create openness and conversation around VOCs and harmful chemical additives. We feel that you have the right to know the details of the products you are using in your home.
What are VOCs?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are gases that are released into the air from ordinary products such as paint, cleaning products, furniture, flooring, and cosmetics. VOCs can have short-term health effects such as headaches, respiratory issues, nausea, dizziness, and other ailments.1 Certain VOCs have also been proven to cause cancer in animals and thus are suspected to cause cancer in humans.1
Unfortunately, there are not many current source-based articles or research available about the long-term health effects of VOC exposure in our homes, and we believe there is a lot of research left to do to ensure your safety. Not only do VOCs have an impact on those who use the products and live in the space in which they are used but many VOCs are also to blame for the formation of smog, which has adverse effects on the environment and human health.2 In order to improve air quality, both federal and provincial/state governments have set limits on the amount of VOCs in g/L (grams / liter) that products can contain. For example, the Canadian limit on paint with a flat sheen has a limit of 100 g/L.3
The state of California has been a leader in the USA by setting VOC concentration limits for consumer products; currently their limit is 50 g/L for paint that has a flat sheen finish, while the EPA (Federal) regulation allows for up to 250 g/L.4 The EPA standard also allows up to 5 g/L for a paint to be called zero VOC.
What about Pigments?
Some companies advertise their paint as zero VOC, and while it might be true for the base paint, pigments that may contain considerable amounts of VOCs are added to the paint and are not always taken into consideration.
In fact, in 2012 there was a settlement between two large paint manufacturers and the Federal Trade Commission, requiring the paint companies to stop making deceptive claims of “zero VOC” because even though their base paint had no VOCs, their tinted paints did contain VOC levels in considerable quantities.5 Pigments should most certainly be taken into account when making VOC claims.
Country Chic Paint is an Ultra Low VOC Paint
We want to create products that are not detrimental to your health or the environment, therefore we have chosen to go above and beyond industry standards by formulating paint with ultra low VOCs. In addition, the pigments used in the Country Chic Paint products are all ultra low VOC, so you can rest assured that the colorants are not adding high levels of VOCs to the paint.
When our products are formulated and manufactured, VOC levels are calculated based on the ingredients used.
To further ensure the safety of our customers, we tested our paint according to the ASTM D6886 standard. We were very pleased to learn that the tested VOC level of the All-in-One paint came back at <1 VOCs! Want to see the test results for yourself? Click here to view the report.