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Does Green Mean Family-Safe?

Yes, it does. Green paints are safer because their makers have reduced or eliminated the toxic VOCs that can harm us and the air we breathe. And they've done it without compromising quality or jacking up prices. Green paints are as good or better than the old-school variety, and most cost the same as a midrange or premium latex. The problem is, some green paints are more people- and eco-friendly than others. Here are the key questions to ask when shopping for green paint:

What's the VOC level?
A can of paint is generally labeled "low-VOC" if it has less than 100 grams of VOCs per liter for flat sheens and 150 grams for nonflat. Cans that meet standards set by Green Seal, an independent tester and certifier of paints, have even less—no more than 50 grams per liter for flat finishes and 100 grams for nonflat. A "zero-VOC" paint can't have more than 5 grams per liter, according to Environmental Protection Agency standards.
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