IMPORTANT NOTE: This article was accurate as of the date it was published, and was signed off on by all of the manufacturer sources quoted. That said, manufacturers frequently change their formulations and ingredients, so this article, given its age, becomes background. DO NOT rely on this article for purchasing these manufacturers’ current products. The questions are relatively simple, but if you would like help in getting guaranteed answers about certifications on a current product, sign up at: https://www.naturalinteriors.com/consumer-subscription/
Low-VOC, zero-VOC and “non-toxic” don’t mean "safe"
Looking for a “non-toxic” paint? There’s a reason for putting the word in quotes. You will have some work to do before you pick up a brush or roller.
Paint manufacturers don’t have to list the ingredients they use on the can. Some chemicals in paint are difficult to eliminate because they are present in earth materials used to make paint. Unless you’re experienced in chemistry, you might not know what to look for on the Manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). And, many toxic irritants don’t have to be listed there anyway.
There are multiple standards and differing certifications for what makes paint “safe.” And knowing which chemical to avoid is a task all its own.
“For those of us who place indoor-air quality on our list of building objectives, responsibility must begin and end with ourselves,” says Jay Watts, marketing director for AFM Safecoat.