As designers and consumers become more involved in the eco-friendly movement and wish to purchase products that protect the health and well-being of their families and building occupants, one product they focus on is paint. To assist in the purchase decisions, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) wants to educate consumers on the difference between volatile organic compound (VOC) content and VOC emissions.
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“When products releasing high levels of VOCs are applied indoors, VOC emissions can absorb into porous construction materials and furnishings, causing the emissions to linger even longer,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, founder of GEI. “The selection of low emitting paints versus low VOC content paints will minimize this impact and result in a higher quality of acceptable indoor air for building occupants and homeowners.”
Some health effects associated with exposure to high levels of specific VOCs include acute responses such as allergies and asthma attacks, and respiratory irritation and headaches, while long term exposure may lead to more serious health concerns.
Manufacturers are now qualifying their paints and coatings for low indoor chemical emissions. Products that have been tested and shown to meet GREENGUARD’s stringent indoor air quality requirements are readily available for retail and commercial use. Look for the GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified mark on products. All products can be found in GREENGUARD’s free online guide at www.greenguard.org.
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