Is the paint in your home making your family sick?

Is the paint in your home making your family sick?

The chemicals and allergens commonly found in building materials contribute to all kinds of illnesses, especially asthma. What does asthma have to do with the paint on your walls? Most household paints have chemicals that aggravate asthma, and some could actually be causing the respiratory disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 million people in the United States have asthma: one in 11 children and one in 12 adults. While medical experts don't know why some people are afflicted and others aren't, they do know that allergens and environmental factors contribute to asthmatic attacks.

In fact, agencies in the U.S. and Europe that study occupational health–Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE)–use the term "asthmagens" for allergens that trigger asthma attacks.

Hazardous asthmagens

In a report on behalf of the National Institutes of Health, 374 substances linked to asthma were found in a long list of building materials. Included in interior and exterior paints are compounds like ammonium bichromate, diisocyanates, dimethylethanolamine, ethanolamine, ethylenediamine, isophorone diisocyanate, maleic anhydride, triethylenetetramine and urea-formaldehyde.

While the good news is that lead, a heavy metal, was banned in consumer paints by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1978, heavy metals like chromium and tungsten and other carbides are still being utilized by some paint manufacturers.

Even with a label of "low-VOC," acrylic paints still contain volatile organic compounds. Scientific research is showing that low- and zero- VOC labeled acrylic paints contribute more toxicity to indoor air quality than ever before.

Don't be "green-washed" by a low-VOC label. They're still made from a solvent.

The alternative is functional and aesthetic

For a truly clean product, one without ANYharmful solvents or compounds, look for a mineral-based paint such as ROMA. Covering the walls of a house or building, interior or exterior, doesn't have to be a choice between décor and health. ROMA provides both, in a product that isnontoxic and beautiful at the same time, available in more than 1,000 colors.

What about an older house with existing paint? Applying ROMA mineral-basedpaint on top of old layers still provides a benefit, because it raises the pH level on those interior walls and improves air quality. This is a good option when stripping off old layers is cost-prohibitive. Derived from natural products like stone or earth, ROMA's mineral-based flat and matte paints contain a nontoxic inert binder, one that is harmless to people, pets and plants, yet is so durable the paint lasts for decades. 

Improving air quality

ROMA paints are breathable, and they can actually improve the air quality inside a house or commercial building. These mineral-based paints have a high pH level and feed on CO2 for carbonization, taking the carbon dioxide produced when people and pets exhale, and slowly moving that air toward the exterior of the house, removing toxins from the air along the way. ROMA’s mineral paints have high alkalinity, which means they are highly resistant to mold, because bacteria won’t form on a ROMA-painted surface.

Mineral paints are ideal for hospitals, schools and other facilities where a healthy environment is important for children and adults. For parents, providing a healthy environment for the whole family involves different components, from the geographical location and construction of the house, to the interior decorating with paint and furnishings, to the food and other items that are brought into the house over the years. Choosing a healthy, mineral-based paint for every wall surface is an easy decision to make, and one that won’t have to be repeated time and time again.

Avoid dangerous acrylic and vinyl

Sometimes architects and contractors think an exterior paint has to be an acrylic, but this type of paint contributes significantly to Sick Building Syndrome because it acts as a Ziploc bag, trapping CO2 inside the building and creating a static container, not allowing the structure to breathe at all. If water (usually rain) gets into a wall system, bacteria and mold spores are sure to follow.

Without a proper ventilation system, a sick building can cause sick people. Enveloping both the inside and outside of a house or commercial building makes the situation worse. There is no acrylic or vinyl in ROMA Domus paints. Zero. No solvents either, or chemicals that cause asthma.

Healthy, clean, sustainable, durable

ROMA’s Domus paint line, a potassium silicate paint, comes in flat, matte, eggshell and satin. Raising the level of sheen, no matter how ecologically sound the paint is, starts lowering the permeability. This is fine for very small areas, like trim. But walls need flat or matte paint, even in bathrooms. Satin is not necessary on bathroom walls to protect the drywall from water absorption—a simple fan can do that.

ROMA’s mineral-based paints repel bacteria and mold growth in the first place, so they’re a perfect choice for bathrooms. Mineral-based paints are also durable, making surfaces easy to clean. The majority of every wall surface needs a high pH content to be breathable, from the smallest room in the house to the largest.

Hydro-repellent paint for commercial and industrial use

ROMA's TerraMare line of silossanic paints repels water. Because water can’t penetrate the TerraMare paint, the surface is still vapor-permeable, allowing air to pass through while remaining highly water-resistant. This makes it an excellent option in environments with high moisture or freeze/thaw conditions.

More mineral paint benefits

In addition to preventing bacteria and mold, ROMA’s mineral-based paints have an A1 fire rating, meaning they produce no toxic smoke in the presence of fire. These paints also emit negative and positive ions, creating rooms that energize your well-being and foster a healthy environment. All of this, while removing common asthma triggers, thanks to the clean, sustainable, durable and healthy properties of ROMA paints.

To download a version of this article, see this white paper from ROMA.

Read more about low-VOC paint.


Topics: Bathroom, Bedroom, Going Green, Indoor Air Quality, Interior Design, Kitchen, Living Room, Maintenance & Repair, Paint | Low VOC and No VOC

Companies: ROMA


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