Can Paint be Healthy & Cruelty-Free? Is This a Myth? Not on Your Watch!
It’s that time again – uggh! Time to go off to that big-box retailer and find the right paint and the perfect colors for your walls; time to get out the brushes and rollers and lay down those tarps or plastic sheets; time to disrupt your living space, sometimes for weeks. We’ve all seen those commercials with happy couples enjoying quality time together while they make painting just a breeze. On what planet does that happen?
Every home needs a “paint job” at some point. There are homeowners who have been in their homes for a long time re-paint, on average, every 5 years. Then some purchase a home from others often paint to get the colors they want; people who build homes meet with the builder and choose their paint and paint colors; and those who put their homes on the market will often paint to give a “fresh” appearance.
With so much painting going on, what are vegans to do? They want paint that is cruelty-free and free of the chemical toxins that “invade” a home via the paint on the walls.
The answer lies in some research and the decision to take the time and effort to have healthy and cruelty-free walls.
There are certain things you can do upfront by way of prevention:
- If you purchase an existing home, chances are you will not know what kind of paint has been put on those walls. In these cases, you can apply a plant-based sealant.
- While the odor of KILZ products may seem harsh, their latex products are very low VOC. They contain plant derivatives and mined minerals. Once you have primed with the KILZ latex product, you can then paint right on top of it. Never use oil-based sealants – they are full of toxins.
- If you are building a new home, you are in luck. You have the power to choose your paint to go on virgin walls. Be certain you choose plant-based and cruelty-free primers and paints. It will be a bit more expensive but well worth it.
- If you are planning to stay in your current home but know you have used paints with high VOC levels in the past, then take the steps outlined above to seal and re-paint. And obviously any painting you do in the future will only be with those of low VOC levels.
There are lots of toxins in your home that you can quickly eliminate. But paint on your walls is there pretty permanently. And paint is one of the biggest factors in poor air quality in your home. Why? Because the chemicals in paint evaporate into your air – the air you breathe all day and night, every day.
Now that consumers are becoming far more conscious of air quality, paint manufacturers have responded (1). They are now producing many lower-VOC latex paints than in the past. Still, these are not natural paints and do contain some harmful chemicals and resins. But it is a step forward.
The best alternative will be all-natural paints, made from natural materials such as linseed oil, lime, and even natural solvents like turpentine (which can be mixed with chalks for pigment). And many come in powdered form, so you can mix up what you believe you will need for a room.
While these natural paints have a much shorter shelf-life (there are no preservatives), they can be disposed of in any manner, because there is no environmental impact. They can even go in a compost pile.
All healthy painting types have certain ingredients – water, a solvent, a binder, and a filler. Two of the most common and readily available paints options are milk (which we don’t recommend for obvious reasons) and lime. Here’s a little lesson on each type: