Products Manufactured for Interior Spaces
Tips for Indoor Air Quality
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.
‘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
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):
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.”
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.”
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
Auro Paints (www.aurousa.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.”
from Deb a chemically sensitive person specializing in healthy
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Paint Manufacturers of No and Low VOC Paints:
Most standard paint manufacturers now have no or low VOC paint
In a future
newsletter we will address the nature and qualities of commercial
no and low VOC paints.
here for a list of paint manufacturers.
Tips for Indoor Air Quality
By Deb Stanton ( www.LivingWithSensitivity.com )
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?
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:
Annie Berthold Bond
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