Wall PaintWhat You Need To Know

Planning to paint your walls to freshen up the look of your home? The good news is that paints no longer contain lead. The bad news is newer paints can release other chemicals that may affect your family’s health. Pregnant women and children should stay away from freshly-painted areas until they are thoroughly dried. Here are some other tips to consider:

What To Avoid
Older homes:If your home was built before 1978 (when Lead paint was still being sold in stores), call the National Lead Information Center 800-424-Lead to learn how to prevent Lead exposure. Lead can significantly impact your child’s brain development.
VOCs:Paints most often contain Volatile organic compounds (vocs), Solvents that are released into the air and easily inhaled. VOCs can cause headaches or dizziness in the short-term and some can increase risk of cancer (be Carcinogenic) and impact brain development with long-term exposure.
Preservatives:Many paints contain Preservatives, a range of synthetic chemical agents that destroy or reduce the growth of microbes and bacteria. This sounds good, but they work by releasing formaldehyde, which increases cancer risk (a carcinogen).
Stay away:Again, pregnant women and children should stay away from areas being painted until they are thoroughly dried and the room has aired out.
Safer Choices
No or low VOC:“Low or Zero VOC” (ideally independently certified) is better but may still contain some harmful ingredients.
Water-based:Natural or organic water-based paints made from citrus and other plant oils are generally considered safer. Note that water-based paints are less resistant to mildews and molds.
Milk paints:A better option can be to use natural milk paints. They are odorless and made from milk protein and earth pigments such as lime and clay. It’s still important to talk to an expert in natural paints to ensure your choice doesn’t have any harmful additives and is truly safe.
Check for lead:If your home was built before 1978, call the National Lead Information Center 800-424-Lead for information about how to prevent Lead exposure. Test your home for Lead. If you have Lead paint in your home, the best options are to cover it with a fresh coat of paint, wallpaper, or tiles. Never sand or remove Lead paint yourself. If you decide to remove the Lead paint, hire a contractor who is certified in Lead abatement.
Cleaning:Make sure to clean frequently using microfiber cloths and a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Find Safer Products
Websites and Apps:
Clearya is a free browser extension and app that notifies you when there are unsafe ingredients in your makeup, personal care, baby care, cleaning and other products, and helps you find safe products.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - Nontoxic Black Beauty Project
They offer a list and database of non-toxic beauty products made and sold by Black-owned companies that are committed to toxic-free beauty and personal care products.
Detox Me
This app allows you to scan barcodes on products to find relevant tips. They also offer a buying guide to decode product labels and find non-toxic alternatives.
Environmental Working Group (EWG)
EWG has a "Skin Deep" database that rates personal care and beauty products based on their safety and toxicity levels. EWG also offers a Healthy Living app that allows you to scan barcodes and find safer products.
Think Dirty
This app and website allow you to scan or search for personal care products to see their ingredient safety ratings.