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Hazards and Benefits

The deception.

There is a massive and ever growing range of natural paints available in a huge range of colours. Purepaint are discovering new paints all of the time, many of which have a weak web presence.

We then contact the companies for samples and asses whether they will work for our customers and for us and ask them some searching questions about the ingredients they have listed or often not listed.

There are charlatans out there peddling their ‘eco’ products and services using righteous hyperbole and dodgy facts. There are also companies with great intentions and very unreliable products. Don’t panic! We are here to guide you!

Firstly the listed ingredients can be intentionally or unintentionally misleading.

There are ingredients that can be innocently described as ‘organic’. What does ‘organic’ mean in relation to paints?

There are no organic standards for paints, so it is utter tosh! Crude oil is organic isn’t it? Also the label ‘eco’ what does that mean? Even Tesco describe their products and activities as more ‘eco’!!!!

Then there is ‘mineral’ what does that mean? It sounds pretty earthy and natural doesn’t it? But organic hydrocarbons are classed as minerals and they are endangering our very existence. So let’s put it all together and see how they fit ‘Organic, Mineral Based Eco Paint’ Great! Let’s buy some of that for the kids bedroom! I could go on but I won’t.

Just be aware and remember to use the same rules that you might apply when shopping for food. Any processed food that says ‘healthy’ on it in large letters will invariably contain something gruesome. The same deceptions are going on in the world of paint. Click here to see a list of ingredients found in natural paints and what they do.

So what are the hazards of using petrochemical paints?

You can also go to our further reading section where there are many pdf's with research and articles about the hazards of modern household paints and also the joys of using natural paints.

Petrochemical paint companies are in the main huge international conglomerates who’s primary aim is profit. They have little concern for peoples health and the environment. The paints they manufacture are a complex mix of chemicals that release harmful vapours in the form of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into your home and the environment. This outgassing can continue for up to 2 years after application! (I've recently read studies stating that it can be as long as five years!)

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts paint on its top-five list of environmental hazards. The main hazard from paints is from volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which include chemicals such as benzene,formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene. Some of these chemicals have been shown to cause cancer or nervous system problems

The EPA has shown that when new paint is drying, indoor VOC levels can be 1,000 times the outdoor levels of VOC.

A study at the University of California reported a significant association between household use of paint and childhood leukaemia. Children specifically exposed to paint in the home had a 65 percent greater risk of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia [ALL]. What’s more disturbing is that this study also found that mothers who used paint during either preconception or pregnancy, had a three-times higher risk of having a child with ALL. This study indicates that paint may cause developmental problems for the foetus.

Adverse health impacts such as ‘Painters Syndrome’ (brain and central nervous system damage), skin diseases, lung diseases and reproductive disorders have been linked to modern paints (Twinshare Tourist information and the environment 2004)

What are the benefits of using eco or natural paints?                                                                                                          

So obviously you’re not going to be polluting your home with toxic chemicals! The benefits however are far more than this and there are unexpected benefits that we hadn’t imagined before using natural paints.

Natural paints enable walls to breathe reducing or eliminating damp problems.

We decorated a cottage where they had experienced serious damp problems in their living room from an external wall. They had tried many different solutions but the damp had got worse. We stripped away the existing sodden petrochemical paint and allowed the walls to dry out over the next week. We then painted the walls with earthborn Clay Paint. The damp completely disappeared.

More hard wearing, they don’t crack or peel.

We use natural paints to paint solid wood designer kitchen units. You can view them here. Customers often want the lovely colours that Farrow and Ball  or other ‘designer’ paints offer. These paints have a lot more pigment than cheaper household paints giving them a greater depth of colour. This intensity of colour however is achieved at the expense of opacity and durability. So not great for painting kitchens. We use earthborn Pro Aqua Quick Drying Eggshell to paint the kitchen units which when completely dry is more durable than any interior paint that we have used and has all of the depth of colour of Farrow And Ball paints. It also has far superior coverage requiring fewer coats.

More of an experience than a chore.

Using natural paints is a very different experience than using petrochemical paints. Why? Well we don’t fully know but guess that it’s a similar experience as when eating organic, wearing natural fibres, switching the TV off and having a conversation or sitting in front of a real fire. It’s just feels right. There are no smells either in the room or on your clothes, there are no adverse affects such as tiredness, headaches or sore throats and the great feeling that you are causing considerably less damage to the environment and your home will be healthier for it. There is also the look of the finished walls. There is a depth to the colour that I haven’t experienced with other paint and a freshness to the room.