The main way that paints can affect the environment and people’s health is by the emission of VOCs into the atmosphere.
What are VOCs?
VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, are chemicals emitted as gases from paint as it dries and evaporates into the atmosphere. While most paints will continue emitting trace levels of VOCs for years after it has dried, VOC emission levels are 1,000 times higher in concentration during or immediately after painting.
What do VOCs in the atmosphere do?
Once in the atmosphere, VOCs become ozone, which causes air pollution as a greenhouse gas.
Additionally, high-levels of VOC exposure can cause short-term illnesses, and have been identified as a potential contributing cause of asthma, cancer and kidney and liver disease.
VOCs are also one of the primary reasons paints give off an unpleasant odour.