Interior Paints and VOCs – What you need to know

austin interior painters, inside house painters, cabinet painters

Interior Paints and VOCs – What you need to know.

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are chemicals that become vapors or fumes as a product is drying or being used. Burning fuel, drying paint, glue and cleaning products are a few common chemicals in our everyday environments that expose us to VOCs. In our case, we will talk specifically about paints.

Is a VOC harmful?

VOCs are compound chemicals, meaning there is multiple chemicals being released into the air. In more cases than we should find acceptable,  these VOCs we are exposed to contain known carcinogens such as formaldehyde, benzene and perchloroethylene. Prolonged exposure can lead to liver, kidney and central nervous system damage. While short term exposure can lead to dizziness, headaches, impaired cognition, fatigue, visual disorders, respiratory irritation, nausea and memory impairment.

I don’t want VOCs in my life! How do I stay away from them?

In many cases, such as in cities, we have no choice over what we our exposed to. VOCs are very common in the polluted air we breathe. It’s especially heavy in traffic, industrial parks, dry cleaners. Laundry mat exhausts, building and construction sites.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels (cited, source).” Air fresheners, cleaning products, copiers, printers, paints….the list goes on. These things vary in VOC content. The amount of carcinogenic chemicals in them vary as well. There are many resources to find the safest products for our families and our homes online.


Science and technology have come a long way from the days of lead paint and asbestos. Moreover, paint companies are still diligently working to make paints healthier that ever before. With brands like ECOS paints, ROMABIO, Benjamin Moore Natura line, for example, zero voc paints are readily available and leaving us with stunning finishes!

If you have any questions about your upcoming painting project, you can book an estimate online, it takes less than one minute!

Best Wishes,

Nicholas Painter, owner

Brush & Color Painting

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