Paints can be loaded with toxic chemicals that release low level toxic emissions in the air for years after application. The source of these toxins is a variety of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) which until recently, were critical to the performance of the paint. The distinctive smell of paint is actually a host of compounds that can cause nausea, dizziness, and severe headaches. According to the EPA, indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air and accounts for 11,400 deaths annually.
What is the alternative?
Low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes are now more readily available due to new environmental regulations and consumer demand. Most paint manufacturers now produce one or more non-VOC variety of paint. These new paints are durable, cost effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.
Check out The Greenguide for further information and specific recommendations on low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes.