Covering your Green Wall

During the New Year, many people look to refresh the rooms around their house with a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper in their rooms. Many people are not aware that there are certain materials in some paints and wallpapers that release harmful chemicals into the air you breathe.

According to the Sierra Club, many wallpapers or wall coverings are made with Polyvinyl Chloride (more commonly known as PVC). Manufacturers use this chemical because it prevents moisture from building up and allows for the wallpaper to be cleaned easier. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), it is a leading indoor air pollutant. The U.S. EPA suggests that PVCs are a factor behind indoor air being three times more polluted than outside air. PVC releases volatile organic compounds (or VOCs); when wallpaper decomposes, VOCs may be released into the lungs, causing asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The organization suggests purchasing organic material-based VOC-free wallpaper products. These products are made with materials composed of cellulose and water-based mineral fibers.

Courtesy of: InHabitat.com

Courtesy of: InHabitat.com

Paints are also made with PVCs. In paint, PVCs are released into the air during the drying process, emitting a foul odor and heavy air. Due to consumer demand and new environmental regulations from the U.S. EPA, more low-VOC and VOC-free paints are being made. The majority of paint manufacturers, such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams, are creating and distributing at least one variety of environmentally-friendly paint.

Eco-friendly paints and wallpapers are the start of a healthier way to live in homes. According to the Sierra Club, this small start is a large step toward the future of healthy living and to ensure that people do not live in a harmful environment.

by Scott Sincoff

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