VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are solids and liquids that easily convert into gas and are then released into the air. These chemicals are found in common household products and are known to be damaging to your health, causing headaches, nausea, irritation to the ears, nose and throat, loss of muscle control, fatigue, dizziness, allergic skin reactions, and lung and kidney damage.
Interior paint is a household product that offgasses VOCs, known as that “new” paint smell. Long after the paint has completely dried, the chemicals will continue to offgas, even if it no longer smells, and can have subtle effects on your health. For this reason, manufacturers make Low and No or Zero-VOC paints to help improve indoor air quality and occupant health.
The U.S. government limits VOCs levels to 250 grams/liter (g/l) in latex paint and 380 g/l in oil-based paint. Low-VOC paint has less than 50 g/l (flat paint) or 150 g/l (gloss paint), and Zero-VOC paint has 5 g/l or less.
How Much Does Low-VOC Paint Cost?
Investing in paints without these toxic chemicals has obvious health benefits. If you shop around, you should be able to find Low-VOC paints that are comparable in price. Many Low-VOC options are available from $12-50 or more per gallon.
How Much Does No or Zero-VOC Paint Cost?
No or Zero-VOC paints, which have 5 grams/liter or fewer VOCs, are obviously more expensive than Low-VOC or conventional paints, and will cost about $30/gallon or more. Nevertheless, this is not unreasonable when some conventional paints can cost up to $50 or more a gallon.