Yesterday we posted about the proper disposal of paint. As a follow-up, we'd like to go into VOC--volatile organic compounds--which are released from most paints. VOCs are harmful oils or other mediums in paints which can be hazardous when used, especially in enclosed indoor spaces. Traditional household paint contains enough VOCs to give you a whopping headache (you know, that fresh paint smell?). Other products that also have high VOCs are paint thinners, aerosols, disinfectants, dry-cleaned clothing, and even plastics like shower curtains. That new plastic smell when you take the shower curtain out of the package? Thank VOC for that too. In fact, anything that you notice a "new plastic smell" on, you should think twice before taking a deep whiff! Some of the other side effects of high exposure to VOC are migraines, damage to the liver and kidneys, and even cancer! Read up more on VOC here.
To find low VOC paints, visit eartheasy for a list of approved sites. Also, some alternatives for objects like shower curtains, try avoiding products with vinyl, instead opting for nylon, cotton, or polyester.
You can also find some recommended best low voc paints here for your bedrooms, nursery, or anywhere you're deciding to do an interior paint job.