Avoid “Sick Building Syndrome” – Use Zero To Low Voc Products

The term “sick building syndrome” (SBS) is used to describe situations in which people experience acute health and comfort effects that are linked to time spent in a building or residence.  The World Health Organization did a study in 1984 which suggested that over 30% of new and remodeled buildings and homes were the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality. There are many products on the market now that contain “low-” to “no-VOC,” and, if you’re wondering what that term means, it is the source of these “sick building syndrome” complaints.  Most SBS complaints are a result of the off gassing (or, evaporating) of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in materials such as paints, adhesives, carpeting, wood products, and cleaning agents – all indoor materials we use and interact with everyday. Studies have shown that VOC concentrations are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors, and are over 1,000 higher during and several hours immediately after activities like painting and paint-stripping. VOCs are emitted as gasses from both solids and liquids, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects. VOCs have been shown to irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and cause headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Some of them can even cause cancer.

With the summer months now in full force, people are more at risk to SBS as the heat and humidity can increase the rate of off-gassing. The most effective strategy to avoid the potential adverse health effects of VOC off-gassing and maintain clean indoor air is to control pollutants at the source. If you’re thinking of painting or repainting rooms in your house this summer, consider low to zero-VOC paint offered here at Greenovations.  But be warned, some products that are either touted as “Low-VOC” or even “Zero VOC” are not necessarily free from potentially harmful ingredients. Some contain what are classified as Hazardous Air Pollutants or HAPs, such as formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone or odor masking agents, all of which can differ from VOCs.  Generally, if it contains masking agents, then that’s just another unnecessary chemical that is hiding whatever effects may be occurring from whatever is coming off the paint.   AFM Safecoat and Ivy Coatings are two companies that have filled the gap where VOC regulation has failed. Many of these unregulated toxins may be found in other products, but not in AFM Safecoat, the world leader in healthy paint, nor Ivy Coatings, the healthiest paint manufactured in the Northeast.


AFM Safecoat Features:   http://www.seacoastgreenovations.com/products/safecoat.aspx

  • Designed to create a “safe coat” to seal surfaces that may out-gas harmful pollutants contained in conventional construction materials
  • Exceeds the strictest VOC standards
  • Recipient of the Scientific Certification System’s Indoor Air Quality Gold Certification.
  • Their newest product, Naturals, an organic and biodegradable paint performs like a premium oil paint is water soluble, so it’s easy to use and easy to clean.
  • Potential LEED® Credits – IEQ 4.2

Ivy Coatings Paint Features:  http://www.seacoastgreenovations.com/products/ivy-coatings.aspx

  • Manufactured regionally – a purchase of Ivy Coatings reduces greenhouse gas emissions caused by long distance freight
  • Exceeds the strictest VOC standards
  • Available in Flat, Eggshell, Semi-Gloss and Gloss
  • Low odor, durable, washable
  • Dries to touch in 1 hour – repaint in 4 hours
  • Potential LEED® Credits IEQ 4.2, MR5
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