Tips for painting your home that will bring about better health for you and the environment

by Josef Graf

  You’re wanting to paint that room that’s growing shabbier by the day, or get a professional to do it for you. In a word, what you’re looking for is transformation. But what style of transformation? A quickie - slap a coat on and be dome? Or a more thoughtful treatment - perhaps a masterpiece that draws envy from the spirit of Da Vinci?

Okay - something mid-range along that wild continuum.

You choose the color(s), and the sheen. You know you want quality paint, a coating that adheres well and is easy to wash. These days, from this point onward in the process, there are a number of choices you can make that will have an effect on the health and well-being of yourself, the members of your family, as well as the painter (if you’re hiring) and the environment.

Starting with the coating itself, because all synthetic materials gas off, many paints, although dry to touch within an hour or so, will continue to gas of on a molecular level, more or less indefinitely, and certainly for days, or weeks, on a level that can affect those who have to live with it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. gov’t.), VOCs can cause respiratory, skin and eye irritation; headaches; nausea; muscle weakness; and more serious ailments.

Although the human capacity to cope with foreign materials is quite remarkable, why put your system through the extra strain? For a 3-4 dollars more per gallon, there are now “zero-emission” paints (no VOCs – or volatile organic compounds) on the market. Where feasible (90% of cases), an environmentally conscious painter uses these alternative products for interior applications.

This development is especially beneficial for anyone in the household or workplace who may suffer from environmental effects (perhaps all of us, on some level).

Other considerations for the environment include:


Article by The Green Painter, Josef Graf, certified journeyman painter and director of the Earth Vision project -

For more information on green options, and further details on points made here, as well as general tips and resources for the home-owner, visit: The Green Painter: