In the last few years, one of the features that Realty companies like to highlight in the features section of their projects is the use of low-VOC paints for interiors. This is a healthy trend and must be welcomed by home buyers and regulatory agencies.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are harmful hydrocarbons such as Xylene, Formaldehyde, Acetone, Toluene, Benzene, Perchloroethylene, Methylene chloride, 1,3-butadiene and Ethylene glycol among others. These are found in Building Materials and Homecare products such as Paints, adhesives, Solvents, composite wood products, sealants and wall putties, fabrics used in upholstery, varnishes, vinyl floors, wood and floor polishes, air fresheners, air cleaners, cosmetics, cleaning and disinfecting chemicals, etc.
VOCs have been used in Paints for interiors, since day one. Paints are composed of pigments, binders, solvents, and additives required to keep the paint resistant from climatic impact. Of these, solvents use VOCs extensively, to bind the binders and pigments, and to ensure the paint dries quickly.
However, extensive research in the last decade or so has shown that VOC-based paints can cause headache, burning sensation, liver damage, kidney failure, cancer in different parts of the body, and a host of mental disabilities for the residents of the house. Only 40% of the VOCs in the paint evaporate in the first few days of the painting being done. The remaining evaporates slowly over several years posing a great health risk to residents. VOCs are also harmful to the environment as they trap heat and accelerate global warming.
If your builder is not offering low VOC paints for your interiors, you can demand the same, or have your interiors painted by a third party. This will go a long way in ensuring sound physical and mental health for you and your family.