River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Green Living

September 2002

Painting a better world

We all want our homes to look good and well cared for. As we rush to the DIY stores there are a few things that we can keep in mind that will help the environment as a whole and not just our homes.

The Association of Environment Conscious Building and the Green Building Store will both point you in the right direction.

For instance, it is best to avoid solvent (rather than water) based paints. Many gloss paints contain up to 50% solvents or VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which act as greenhouse gases once the paint has dried. The production of solvent based paints is also very wasteful with 30 tonnes of waste being produced for every tonne of paint produced. Avoiding solvent based paints could also be good for you. VOCs are absorbed into the body through the skin and through the lungs as we breath in affecting the nervous system, irritating the eyes, nose and throat and damaging internal organs. The World Heath Organisations has calculated that decorators 40% more likely to suffer from lung cancer. Solvent based paints may cost you less cash but what about the hidden environmental and health costs, can you or anybody really put a price on them?

Revd Nigel Tuffnel

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