Last week, New Living — in partnership with its non-toxic paint and coatings store The Green Painter — hosted a ground-breaking Green Painter Certification class at Rice University.  Performed in Rice’s paint shop, this class tackles the all-too-common and hard-to-solve problem of poor indoor air quality. Five painters took this professional development course, which teaches green and healthy practices and educates painters to make smarter choices about the products they use.

The importance of this issue cannot be understated as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) estimates that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. Traditional paints, stains, and coatings contain harmful chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals off-gas into the air over time, causing the strong odors associated with these products, and potentially leading to respiratory and circulatory system problems, among other health concerns.

Painters have a demonstrably higher cancer rate – and a lower life expectancy — than almost any other profession. By definition, the paints used to cover our world are deadly and although painters suffer the brunt of this problem, everyone shares the effects.

The EPA ranks indoor air pollutants, including paint, among the top five public health environmental risks.  Chemicals in conventional paints include glycols, toulene, hydrocarbons, xylene, and ammonia.  Even water-based paints typically include a range of biocides to protect the latex, which can include arsenic disulphide, phenol, copper, formaldehyde, carbamates, permethrin and quaternary ammonium compounds
According to Jeff Kaplan, president of New Living, “The GreenPainters program is just the first step in educating painters and consumers about the dangers of chemicals in everyday paint.  For this to truly be sustainable, consumers must also start demanding the use of Low-VOC paints and coatings in their homes and offices.”

How can you help? Consider hiring a Certified Green Painter for your next job. Making this healthy, green choice is more affordable than ever!


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