You may have heard about VOC's....but do you know exactly what they are and how harmful they can be to you and the environment ?
VOC's (or Volatile Organic Compounds to give them their full name) are substances which boil, or release vapour, at low temperatures. In the paint world, synthetic products are added to some paints to aid drying.....by vapourising the liquids in the paint to get to a hardened finish in as short a time as possible. These vapours are very harmful to you and the environment, especially if used indoors, and exposure to them should be as limited as possible.
So what do you need to know about VOC's and our paint ?
Pure Linseed Paint only has two ingredients - linseed oil and pigment - and does not release any vapours as it dries in a totally different way. We can't stress enough just how environmentally friendly and healthy it is in comparison to petrochemical paints.
Drying happens by oxidisation (exposure to UV light and oxygen), so we have no need for solvents. No solvents means no VOCs. Linseed oil paint is oil paint in its purest form - it is not oil paint in the conventional sense (acrylics with added emulsifiers and solvents).
In an effort to drive down the VOC content of petrochemical paints, there’s has been a massive push to come up with a water-based version. A lot of big paint brands will offer water-based paints for exteriors. Don’t be fooled though, these paints are not water-based at all. They can be diluted with paint because emulsifiers have been added to make this possible. There is absolutely nothing natural about this process or ingredients. Even though it may mean that there is a reduction in VOC in these paints, the ‘new’ chemicals added to make this possible are sometimes even worse. Time will tell just how bad these new paints are in terms of impact on environmental and personal health.
an example of a VOC label on a conventional (petrochemical) tin of paint