Friday, July 6, 2012

Fresh paint? or Toxic Air?

I am an environmentalist at heart.  I have been for sometime now, but it went into overdrive when my daughter was born 5 years ago.  So it is a natural progression for me to become more involved in "green" real estate as a Realtor.

A lot of my buyers will get excited when they smell the "fresh paint" on some of the homes.  Part of the excitement is that they know they won't have to do any repainting themselves, but few know how toxic that paint smell is.  Today's paints are less toxic than they were 10 years ago due to public demand but even low-VOC paints can still be harmful.  There are non-toxic paints out on the market and although more expensive, the health of your families will benefit in the long run (and this holds true for different types of paints and stains).  

Here are somethings you should know about paint.

1)  The EPA says that indoor air quality can be more seriously polluted than outdoor air and one of the causes is paint.
2) VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOC) are a traditional component of many oil based paints and even latex paints (and some of your household cleaners as well).
3) Exposure to VOCs can cause can cause the following symptoms:
  • conjunctival irritation
  • nose, throat discomfort
  • headache
  • allergic skin reaction
  • dyspnea
  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • nausea, emesis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • 4) Prolonged exposure has been linked to kidney and liver disease and even cancer.
    5)  VOCs continue to be released well after the paint dries (I am talking years)
    6) Zero-VOC paint will still have some level of VOCs but still at lower levels than traditional paints.
    7) Small children and the elderly are the most susceptible to the negative effects of VOCs in the air.

    I realize that as a buyer there are not a lot of homes that will use zero-VOC paints or non-toxic paints.   But you can choose to buy a home that has NOT been "freshly painted" and then paint it yourselves with the paint of your choice.  I know it is a lot more work and higher expense, but think about the savings in health care costs!

    As a buyer you should demand greener and healthier homes.  Eventually sellers will comply.

    My primary source for putting this blog together was Home Repair  and the EPA website at

    Luisa Rodriguez
    Prestige Property Group
    Exit Choice Realty
    Woodbridge, VA 22192
    For quality service, please contact us and a member of our team will be more than happy to assist you.   


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