collection of low or zero v o c cans of paint
Photo: Don Penny/Time Inc. Digital Studio
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Does Green Mean Family-Safe?

Does it contain other harmful ingredients?
Your best assurance that a paint is formulated without nasties is a logo from independent testers Green Seal, GreenGuard, or Scientific Certification Systems. They bar more than 1,000 unsafe compounds, including VOCs such as benzene, heavy metals such as cadmium, and plasticizers like phthalates. Green Wise, another tester, bars 26 such chemicals. Can't find logos on products at the paint store? Visit Green Seal, GREENGUARD, Scientific Certification Systems, or GREEN WISE for approved paints.

Do the colorants have VOCs?
You may think you're home safe with a low- or zero-VOC paint, but once it's tinted with the universal colorants used in most paint stores, it could be anything but. On average, these colorants add about 150 grams of VOCs to a gallon; darker shades have more. To get around this, either settle for colors that are factory-mixed or look for paints with no-VOC tinting systems, such as Mythic, Freshaire Choice, or Yolo Colorhouse.

Did you know?
Regular latex paint off-gasses formaldehyde and other VOCs for up to three years—the time it takes to fully cure after it's rolled onto your walls.
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