What is low VOC paint?
According the EPA:
VOC or Volatile Organic Compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
The solvents are emitted while the paint is drying; however over the course of the first year only 50% of paints VOC’s have been emitted.
In the past paints were made strictly from VOC because of its properties of strengthen the bonding aspect of the paint. Technological advances now make low VOC paints are commonly available and an affordable alternative. People with pre-existing conditions, pregnant and nursing women, small children and other sensitive people should consider requesting low VOC paint.
There is a further classification of paint that is entirely No VOC, but it is difficult to find. In the paint factory the can is filled 7/8th with the base. It’s at the paint store the colorants are added; these colorants are where the VOC are found.
the federal government caps the VOC content in paint at 250 grams per liter (g/l) for flat finishes and 380 g/l for other finishes (low-luster, semigloss, etc.). However, some manufacturers have opted to comply with more stringent limits—50 g/l for all finishes—set by California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District.
In the past low VOC paints rated poorly in www.consumerreports.org tests. But recent tests low VOC paints have ranked very highly.