Choosing Non Toxic Paints At Our Maine House
When we moved into our house we realized that every single room was going to need a refresh of paint – so immediately I began to think about the chemicals that might be lurking in the more traditional paints we use and what alternatives there are out there. My research led me to some pretty shocking information about how toxic paints are and how closely we are exposed to them, but also some wonderful companies I am sharing today offering clean alternatives!
So first of all, the issue with conventional paints.
I have been educating myself on the health and environmental issues around the toxicity of conventional house paints. Some of the ingredients we find in paints are just horrible. Benzene, for example, is an established carcinogen that turns up in some paints, particularly oil-based paints. As with other carcinogens, it’s likely people mostly have to worry about long-term or very high amounts of benzene exposure. But spending time in a poorly ventilated and newly painted room could expose people to elevated benzene levels, the ACS states, and this is just an example of a type of VOC that you find in paint.
VOCs can cause a number of short-term health problems, from headaches and dizziness to a runny nose and itchy eyes. Some VOCs may also cause nervous system and organ damage, according to the American Lung Association. Maternal exposure to some VOCs found in paint may raise the risk for low birth weight, which in turn is associated with an increased risk for delayed development or learning disabilities.
The Green Guard Certified Paint Companies we are using at our house.
This is a favourite for me in the States as the colours are so perfect, particularly their neutrals. Clare’s water-based interior paints and colorants are zero VOC which means they’re formulated without the toxic carbon-based solvents found in other paints. Their paints are green guard certified, which meets the world’s most stringent chemical emissions standards, ensuring fewer pollutants and healthier indoor air quality. Plus, this is an amazing black owned and female business to support!
We went for Timeless in our bedroom, with matching trim and I could not be happier with this creamy, deep white. For our guest room we chose On Point which is the most perfect not beige, beige that goes very well with our sustainable bamboo blinds from Color Co (more on that later!) and our vintage rug from my great grandmother. Shop them here!
This is such a fun company to use – they make choosing paints super easy and the website is great to explore. All their paints are green wise certified, low VOC and low odor. Their innovative paint cans with a screw lid also make it very easy to stop painting and start again, ensuring very little waste or drying out.
They have been carbon neutral as a company from 2020 and have partnered with The International Rescue Committee, a non-profit responding to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helping people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their futures. When you buy from Backdrop, you’re also supporting families who’ve been displaced from their homes involuntarily at a time when the world truly needs it the most.
We went with Harvest Moon in our living room and dining room, which is the most beautiful warm white. We also chose Mojave Gathering for our den, which was the sage green I had been dreaming of brought to life!
If you are outside of the States, I have found that Palette is a European based company I wish I could use! They are no VOC and have the most beautiful pastels colours!
For anyone in the UK specifically, I would also recommend COAT paints which are sustainably made in the UK and are doing incredible things with sustainability.