Greenpainters  explains the toxic effects of VOCs in paint and their detrimental impact on the environment.  

That VOCs are bad for health has been well-documented over years of research. The CSIRO estimates that poor indoor air quality costs the Australian community $12 billion a year in health-related costs.  

According to the World Health Organisation, painters have a higher risk of lung cancer and bladder cancer caused by constant exposure to chemicals in paints.  

The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water in NSW says that paint accounts for 16% of all VOC emissions, and has even been linked to greenhouse gases, which cause climate change.  

VOCs must be eliminated or reduced not only based on their impact on health but also due to the fact that they damage the environment.  

Using or specifying conventional paints can cause irreparable damage to the environment. Avoiding or reducing the use of paints with VOCs can protect the environment for the long-term.  

Top 5 Ways to Reduce VOC Emissions  

Ultra-Low-VOC paints  

Ultra-Low-VOC paints must be used or specified all the time, even for exterior paint jobs.  

Some of these low-VOC paints include Rockcote Ecostyle and zero-VOC Ecolour, which come with a 10-year guarantee, are Australian-owned and are competitively priced.  

These ultra-low-VOC paints are also available in an unlimited range of colours and use only low-VOC tints.  

Zero-VOC epoxies  

Zero-VOC two-pack solventless epoxies such as NMP Coatings Jaxxon and ArtEpox are recommended.  

Key advantages include zero odour, superior durability as well as resistance to acids and alkalis. These epoxies are suitable for heavy duty use even in areas of high moisture and traffic.  

Low-VOC primers and undercoats  

Low-VOC primers and undercoats are recommended even for difficult surfaces.  

Zinsser Smart-Prime is ideal for use on tannin-bleed timber and white-set plaster. It's been formulated to neutralise alkali in high lime plasters, and can be used to cover smoke stains.  

Oikos Fundgrap can be used for superior adhesion on glossy surfaces including old enamel.  

Low-VOC enamel paints  

BIO Enamel Lacquer and Livos Enamel are eco-alternatives to oil-based enamel paints with the same high gloss and finish.  

Both products use plant-based solvents instead of petrochemicals, and have half the VOC content of conventional oil-based enamels.  

Become an Accredited GreenPainter  

Being an accredited GreenPainter helps painters go solvent-free with the right kind of training. Subsidised training programs are available from GreenPainters.