It’s always suggested that you paint in a well-ventilated area due to the fumes that are released.  In fact, the chemicals that are being released are called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs.  The strong smell and instant headache you’ll get when inhaling these vapors is a dead giveaway that they aren’t good for you.  While much of the VOCs leave the paint as it dries, did you know there are harmful chemicals still being released for years following the initial painting.  VOCs can trigger asthma and allergies over extended periods of time, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Carcinogens are the most deadly aspect of VOCs in paint due to their cancer-causing abilities.  Unless you are specifically choosing VOC-free paints that are safe for you and your family, you may be exposing them to the harmful effects of chemicals such as benzene and methylene chloride amongst other things.

Volatile Organic Compounds are the chemicals in the paint that make them dry quickly and permanently, so it’s no wonder they’ve been a popular addition to paints for decades now.  However, that doesn’t mean a paint won’t work without VOCs.  There are many natural or organic paints that are low VOC or completely VOC free.  These products usually use animal and plant products, chalk, lime or casein in place of VOCs.  Some people have tried to make their own homemade paint, and while it’s a valiant effort, it is not a good idea.  Homemade paints have a whole host of their own problems.  Your best bet when switching to safe paint is finding a reputable brand with a proven track record of performance that you can trust.