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Paint Products Manufactured for Interior Spaces
Cleaning Tips for Indoor Air Quality

Paint Products Manufactured for Interior Spaces:
By Deb Stanton ( www.LivingWithSensitivity.com
Roy Prince ( www.HealthyHomeArchitect.com )

If you are a relatively healthy person without any known chemical sensitivities or environmental illness (EI) you have the greatest range of choices when it comes to interior paints. Chemically sensitive individuals or people with EI are encouraged to follow the guidelines below.

‘No’ or ‘low’ VOC paints are available from most standard mainstream paint companies. There are ‘eco friendly’ paints made from organic plant sources and also powdered milk based products.

Milk Based Paint
Paint products most tolerated by those with chemical sensitivities are milk based paints. Here are comments about the paint formulations from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co., Inc. Web site (http://www.milkpaint.com/general.htm):

“Ingredients: As in originally produced home-made milk paint, we use milk protein, lime, clay, and earth pigments such as ochre, umber, iron oxide, lampblack, etc. The lime is alkaline but becomes totally inert when mixed with the slightly acid milk. We use no lead, no chemical preservatives, no fungicides. Milk paint contains no hydrocarbons or any other petroleum derivatives.”

“Environmentally Friendly: Our Milk Paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic when dry. There is a slight milky odor when it is applied, but it is completely odorless when dry. The paint is safe for children’s furniture and toys, and can also be used for interiors of homes of people who are allergic to modern paints.”

Organic Plant Based Paint
Auro and Livos are two primary manufacturers of plant based paints and natural finishes. These products while perhaps as sustainable and earth friendly as milk-based paint also contain volatile organics. Although not petrochemical based, they can be problematical for the chemically sensitive.

Livos Products (www.livos.com.au) are based on a total range of only about 150 raw materials, all of which occur in nature. Plant dyes and oils, tree resins and waxes, beeswax, casein, natural cellulose and fibers are compatible with nature.

Auro Paints (www.aurousa.com, www.auroorganic.co.uk, www.naturalhomeproducts.com)
“From an ecological point of view, natural organic paints cost less in total than many synthetic products - simply because indirect ecological costs (e.g. for waste management and energy input) are much less.”
“The raw materials used in our products are natural and include plant oils and waxes, plant based solvents, earth and mineral pigments, the greater part coming from cultivated plant sources. All these substances have been an intimate feature of Man's environment for thousands of years.”

Recommendations from Deb a chemically sensitive person specializing in healthy home consultations:

“Natural paints and finishes can have a strong characteristic fragrance from the natural raw materials used in the product. Common commercial products use a chemical "dulling fragrance" to eliminate strong fragrance overtones.”

The preceding paragraph is a description from the web site for Auro paints. My experience as a person with chemical and particularly smell and fragrance sensitivities is that I always have to do a ‘sniff test’ myself on every single product that I want to use to see how well I can tolerate the product. It doesn’t seem to matter if the product contains natural essential oils or a chemical fragrance. First I have to smell the product in its container and if it passes that ‘test,’ then I apply a small amount of it to a piece of wood and put it in my interior environment to see if I can tolerate it when it has dried. I advise every consumer that believes they may have chemical sensitivities that it is not only worth the price to purchase a quart of any product that is being considered but mandatory to see if they can tolerate the product.

My advice to anyone I consult with that has chemical sensitivities, Environmental Illness, allergies etc. is that I can provide them all the information, MSDS sheets, VOC information and product information from the company or its reps. and none of that information is of any use unless the individual can personally tolerate the product. I advise every client to do the smell test for themselves.

I am first and foremost a person who is committed to purchasing, using and having in my environment products that are sustainable, ecologically sound and non-toxic. It is always my first choice to use the most ‘natural’ product available. Because I am also a chemically sensitive individual, I have to take into account my ability to tolerate products, and sometimes that means the product might not be as ‘natural’ or sustainable as I would like.

Proper surface preparation is essential:

I learned the hard way that proper preparation is as important as the product you use! This rule applies to either a previously painted or a new surface.

A couple of years ago I purchased a low VOC product from a reputable manufacturer. I knew I could tolerate the paint very well because of prior use. My mistake was in hiring a painter who was unfamiliar with the paint and with proper surface preparation. Within two months of use of my freshly painted bathroom, which had good ventilation, the paint began to peel on the walls! Imagine my irritation when I had realized that with proper surface prep this would not have happened.

If there is not a painter that you are already familiar with that you can contact to see if they are acquainted with using ‘eco friendly’ paints, I recommend compiling a list from your local yellow pages directory. Call and interview painters and ask them if they have worked with the product you are considering. Perhaps there will be some personal recommendations for painters from the store where you purchased the paint. In any case it is imperative that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application to the letter unless the painter is very familiar with the product and can guarantee a good outcome.

Large Commercial Paint Manufacturers of No and Low VOC Paints:
Most standard paint manufacturers now have no or low VOC paint formulations.

In a future newsletter we will address the nature and qualities of commercial no and low VOC paints.

Click here for a list of paint manufacturers.

Cleaning Tips for Indoor Air Quality
By Deb Stanton ( www.LivingWithSensitivity.com )

Many things affect indoor air quality in our homes, offices and public places. Here are some cleaning tips that will not adversely affect air quality, are generally tolerable for people with EI, are non-toxic and will help keep your indoor spaces germ free.

During cold and flu season there are very effective and inexpensive products that can be used to disinfect and sanitize your home and office without diminishing air quality and without using dioxin producing chlorine or other toxic chemical products!

My two favorite sanitizing products are found in your health food store or pharmacy. Grapefruit Seed extract and Hydrogen Peroxide in combination or alone can be mixed with baking soda to make a very effective scrubbing product. You can also use the peroxide or grapefruit seed mixed with a cream cleanser product that is lemon oil and Silica based available at your local health food store. Works wonders and you'll probably find the 3% hydrogen peroxide already in your bathroom or first aid cabinet! Use up to ten drops of the grapefruit seed extract mixed with your favorite non-chlorine scrub or mix the scrub with the 3% hydrogen peroxide. Works like a charm; do wear rubber gloves to protect your hands when doing any cleaning.

There are stronger grades of hydrogen peroxide available. Some health food stores have a 12% dilution of hydrogen peroxide.. The 12% solution will mostly evaporate stubborn mold and mildew stains but must be highly diluted and must be used with extreme caution! With rubber gloves on, and taking care not to spill any of the 12% solution, pour a tablespoon (use metal measuring spoons rather than plastic) into a clean spray bottle that you've already filled with tap or distilled water. You can then spray the solution onto stubborn mold or mildew stains. You may add one more tablespoon of the 12% solution to the bottle of water is the stain is not removed. If the stain still remains, leave the solution on overnight. If the stain is still there on your tub or tile grout the next day, resort to suggestions made in one of the books mentioned at the end of this article. Both books are available in our bookstore!

Did you know that the oxygen bleach products appearing in health food stores these days are actually just stabilized Hydrogen Peroxide?

Thanks to the pioneers in the 'make it yourself' and eco friendly cleaning products field, Debra Lynn Dadd and Annie Berthold Bond!
See their books offered in our bookstore:

Debra Lynn Dadd
Annie Berthold Bond

Please send comments about our newsletter and any subjects you would like to see us include in future issues to:

For documents and information obtained from this Web site, SustainableABC.com, does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, or process disclosed.


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