Ah, the smell of a freshly painted room! If the very thought makes you want to run for a face mask and respirator, you’ll be jumping for joy over the advent of low- and no-VOC paints. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the unpleasant and unstable, carbon-containing compounds that readily vaporize into the air. They’re responsible for that “fresh paint” smell as well as the tell-tale odor of freshly adhered flooring. They’re the things to blame for the overwhelmingly intense “chemical” odor during any painting, renovation or remodeling project.
That would be bad enough if the problem stopped when the odor went away. Unfortunately, studies have shown that that stinky period is only about 50% of the VOCs; the rest slowly seep out over days, weeks, months and years. Indoor VOC levels are routinely 10 times higher than those outdoors. And what’s the big deal? VOCs contribute to ozone and smog formation and are linked to respiratory illnesses and memory impairment. Federal and state requirements are starting to limit VOCs, but smart companies are going above and beyond the requirements. Continue reading