The new baby’s room: why painting with eco-friendly paint is so important.
Guest writer Tom Demers is here to offer a few reasons …
Eco Friendly Decorating For The Baby Room
When it comes to decorating your child’s room, few parents really think about the damaging effects that paint can have on children. Of course the paint smells for a few days, but after the smell if gone the effects are gone, right? No, absolutely not. Children are potentially in danger when you use conventional paint, and researchers are finding more and more health effects everyday. If you want to keep your child safe, then using eco-friendly paint is the best thing you can do.
Volatile Organic Compounds
All conventional paints have a high amount of Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. These are chemicals that escape in the vapors, and they are known for causing harm to both children and adult. One of the most famous VOCs is formaldehyde, but paint has literally hundreds of different solvents and VOCs.
Short-term exposure to VOCs may leave you feeling a little lightheaded or gasping for air, but there is rarely an acute toxic effect. However, long-term exposure can cause asthma, mental retardation, organ damage to the liver and kidneys and many are thought to cause cancer.
Persistence of VOCs
Many people think that the harmful vapors are gone once you can longer smell them. This seems logical enough, but it is not the truth. While the smell of the paint is gone, the paint itself is still off-gassing. Most paints continuously send out VOCs for several months to several years.
However, certain colors are known to contain more VOCs, making their effects last longer. These are usually vibrant colors and those that use cadmium, like red, yellow and orange. These paints tend to send out VOCs for years to even a decade. Most baby rooms will be a lighter color, but this still means that your child has to be exposed to the VOCs for at least several months, and that’s all it can take to cause health effects.
Prior to Birth
If you are planning to decorate the room before the baby is born, just to get the off-gassing out of the way, then there is still a risk. The VOCs can get into the mother’s body, which in turn may affect the child. This can cause all of the major health effects, even before the child is born.
Not only that, but the solvents commonly used in conventional paint are suspected of causing miscarriage. Some researchers are on the fence about this issue, but the predominant thought is that solvents have a moderate to high chance of causing a miscarriage, so it would be best to just stay away from conventional paints, whether the baby is born or if you are expecting.
Getting a low-VOC paint is perhaps the best alternative. Low-VOC paint still has some VOCs, but the amount is very limited, so the worst that will happen is some very limited breathing irritation, and those cases are rare. Also, since there are less VOCs, the off-gassing will pass much quicker than if you used a conventional paint color.
Speaking of color, how many colors are offered in low-VOC paint? Most of the major colors you would find with conventional paint can be easily made without the harmful VOCs. There are a few colors here and there that are missing, but you probably won’t notice them.
Low-VOC paints also come in different glosses, like flat, semi-gloss and high-gloss. This allows you to paint the baby’s room however you want, without having to worry about any harmful effects from the paint. Not only that, but you will get some satisfaction out of knowing that you are not contributing to smog, which is mostly created from VOCs.
Decorating your child’s room in the most natural and eco-friendly way isn’t only satisfying, it ensures that your child isn’t afflicted by the dangerous effects of VOCs that are found in conventional paint. All the major paint colors can be used with low-VOC paint, so you can still paint the room however you want. So, stop worry about the dangers and start picking out a color. You can either pick out the colors yourself, or you can hire a professional decorating and color consultant to help you find the best color for the room.
Tom Demers writes for Organic Baby Nook, an organic baby products guide for earth-conscious parents. Visit the official site to read organic baby product reviews and articles.Tom also writes for HeatingOilShopper.com, a leading source of information on a range of topics related to heating oil and home heating options, enabling consumers to find the best prices on their home heating oil.