The Reasons to Avoid Using Latex Paint
Over the last few decades, more and more people in the United States have become aware of the problems and hazards from products most of us use every day. These include household cleaners, packaged food, carpeting, and paint on the walls. People who have never thought about it before have been asking, “what is latex made from?” In years past, the idea of having a latex allergy was unheard of, now whenever people visit a medical office, they are asked if this is a problem.
As a consequence of this new awareness, when many people are looking at painting their home, they look for paints that do not have volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are chemicals whose vapor pressure is very high, even when kept at regular room temperature. This is one of the reasons people are asking “what is latex made from?” because it is considered to be a VOC. For years latex paint was viewed as a safer alternative to oil-based paint.
A Look at Paint
Paints have a number of things in them. They are comprised of pigments, solvents, and fillers. The solvents are put into paints to help distribute the pigments. They are also added to paint to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. In the case of paints with latex, the solvent most often used is water. When oil was replaced by water, it did make the paint slightly less toxic. If ingested in medium to large quantities, if ingested, latex paint can be dangerous, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
There Is a Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Paints
It has been said that the indoor version of latex paint is not very toxic, there are a number of people who have had problems with its outdoor counterpart. That is because there is often mercury in outdoor latex paints. For the most part, companies that make paint say that have removed the dangerous substance from their products, it is still legal to add it to paint and can often be found there. This is the main reasons experts have said that latex paint that was developed to be used outside should never be applied to indoor walls. Exposure to mercury is very bad for both adults and children alike. It can cause damage to the nervous system.
The Fumes Are the Problem
Many experts in the safety of different paints say that the latex paint is not the real problem. The fumes that are released as latex dries are the culprits. Latex paint can take longer to dry than other kinds of paint. The fumes that are released as latex paint dries are VOCs. The VOSs in question are substances such as toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde. When some people think about the question, what is latex made from? they are not really asking the right question. What chemicals are actually in latex paint depends on the formulation of the paint. For the most part, the more tint that is put in the paint or the more gloss is added, the higher the level of VOCs will be.
VOCs Are Especially Dangerous for Children, the Elderly and People Whose Immune Systems Have Been Compromised
While it is true that VOCs are not healthy for anyone to breathe in but the danger is most acute for children, older adults, and people with problems with their immune systems. Pregnant women have been told not to go around any kinds of paint fumes, says the American Pregnancy Association. Exposure to VOCs such as formaldehyde can cause a plethora of symptoms. These include eye irritation, nausea, fatigue, and headaches.
There Is an Easy Way to Stay Away From VOCs
The best way to stay away from VOCs in the home is to use paints with little or no VOCs in them. When painting using any kind of paint, it is very important to get enough air flow through the rooms or spaces that are being painted. That means you should open and keep open the windows and doors. Using a fan to get the fumes out of the area can do a lot to keep everyone safe.
You can avoid worrying about the question, “what is latex made from?” by using health-focused paints and skipping the latex based paint.