I finished painting my bedroom yesterday. The colour is crystal sky and it's gorgeous. For the first time, I used a natural paint. The paint is based on traditional paints but it's completely non-toxic so much so that if you have any left over at the end, it can be added to the compost. The paint is made from clay, chalk, talc, lime, casein and food plant extracts. That's it. I have painted lots of rooms in the past and this was the first time ever I didn't feel high afterwards.
The other paints I have used in the past release low level toxic fumes at the time of painting and unfortunately, painted walls will continue to release fumes for months after you've finished painting, sometimes even for years afterwards.
Here is a list of typical ingredients in the paint I have used in the past (taken from Green Painters website). Glycols(ethyleneand propylene), glycol ethers, formaldehyde,biocides, amines (ammoniumhydroxide, amino-2-methyl propanol),monomers, acrylic polymer latextitanium dioxide calcium carbonateammonium hydroxide benzisothiazoline,methyl-isothiazolin, water.
The only ingredients I am familiar with is formaldehyde and water. I can't even pronounce some of them and I have no idea what they are. I do know that formaldehyde is not something I want in my home. It has been officially recognised that formaldehyde is a cancer-causing substance, (human carcinogen) by many bodies now including the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
For most people decorating their house, they will probably be fine, as long as you have a well ventilated room, take regular breaks and allow a day or so after painting before spending lots of time in the painted room. Common sense things that so many of us don't do, we know we should but most people are too busy to do these simple things to care for themselves. There are studies that highlight the various reactions some people have to such toxins. Some people will experience headaches and sore throats and at the worst extreme brain damage. However we don't really know how safe paint, or any other diy material is really. So we have to do our research, check in with our gut and do the best we can.
I am striving to live my life with integrity and I really believe in natural living. Now I know what is in most paint (I've checked the ingredients list recently myself on the paint tins in the diy shops) and that some of these substances can cause cancer, there is no way I would decorate my bedroom walls with the toxic paint for us to inhale for days, weeks, months and sometimes even years while we sleep.
The natural paint cost me significantly more than the other paint. The other downside was that it took a long time to prepare the paint. It involves lots of mixing and stirring and once mixed I had to wait 30 minutes before painting. Also, once mixed up you have to use the paint within 2-3 days. I don't mind the extra effort and cost to ensure we minimize the toxins we exposure ourselves to.
I wonder sometimes about the cumulative effect of toxins in the home. It's not just the paint, the toxins are in most diy materials these days. All of it adds up to create an unhealthy environment and requires that we open the windows every day if we want any chance of fresh, healthy air to breathe. I've discovered some plants that are great for purifying the air and will post something shortly.
It is the critical mass that have the power and if we stop buying toxic cr*p, it will stop being made. Instead we will be provided with natural paints to buy and the cost will come down. It requires us all to make wise choices even if it means some extra effort. I choose to live naturally because I want to be a healthy, happy and balanced person, with a healthy and happy family, community, society and human race and yes, non-toxic paint is a small part of it all. Blessings, Carole.