WHAT IS THE CLEAN AIR ACT?
In 1996, Revisions to the Clean Air Act forced paint manufacturers to become more responsible and reduce VOC levels in paint products. Research and development teams had to come up with a way to meet the new standards with a durable, long-lasting solvent-based paint, yet be environmentally safe. The paint also needed to be priced accordingly so that contractors and homeowners could afford the product.
WHAT IS A VOC?
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound -or- Volatile Organic Chemical. When VOC’s evaporate, they contribute to photochemical smog in the atmosphere and problems in the ozone.
WHY USE VOCs?
Without these solvents, paint was hard to apply, did not flow smoothly or dry well, and made touch-ups very difficult. These solvents had to be replaced with something else that did not hurt the environment and did not compromise the quality/performance of the product.
Water based low-VOC and no-VOC paint is the answer. After much trial and error, these eco-friendly paints met federal guidelines and performed well enough to satisfy contractors and consumers. This led to not only the use of water-based technology but also the use of clay’s and resins.
- ZERO VOC: Any paint with VOC’s in the range of 5 grams/liter or less according to the EPA. Adding color/tint may bring VOC levels up to 10 grams/liter, which is still quite low.
- LOW VOC: Paints that use water as a carrier instead of petroleum-based solvents thus lowering the levels of harmful emissions. The amount of (low) VOC’s vary among products but must always meet the EPA standard…no more than 200 grams/liter.