Paint & Art Supplies

by Ms. S on June 20, 2010


Paints and markers can contain things like trichloroethylene, which can cause liver and lung damage. Of course, you won’t know they are there, because companies aren’t required to list all ingredients on the labels. (“Squeaky Green” p121). Check out Squeaky Green p121 for tips on how to avoid this stuff.


VOCs are chemicals that are carbon-based and easily evaporate in the air — a phenomenon known as “off-gassing.” Don’t let the word organic fool you. VOC fumes come mainly from synthetic materials like plastic and polyurethane, paints and varnishes, and cleaning products. Whenever you smell something, whether fragrant (like the pine smell in cleaners) or putrid (like ammonia), it’s likely a VOC. Not all VOCs are harmful, but some have been linked to everything from neurological and organ damage to cancer. Recent Australian studies correlated VOC exposure in the home with a higher incidence of asthma.


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