Lanzarote, sun, sea, wind… Have you left buildings for volcanoes? Does the idea of living outdoors seduce you? Are you a fan of long walks and beautiful sunsets?

Yeah the wind… may we talk about the air you breathe at home?

As much as you want to live outdoors, you spend at least 12 hours in the house, many more considering the current situation. With teleworking it’s about 16 to 18 hours, which makes this post even more deserving of your attention.

In fact, we spend 85% of our time indoors, and that’s why today I want to draw your attention to another ‘invisible’ topic, after my article on smells: painting. I mean the paintings that cover your walls, furniture and practically all the objects in your apartment. What do we breathe in our homes?

The paintings on the walls

Are you sure the varnishes that were used to paint your house are harmless?

Paints contain solvents, which release residual emissions, volatile organic substances that do not evaporate completely during the creation process and which, unfortunately, we run the risk of inhaling, for example, when the paint dries after spreading.

Hazardous substances in paints

Among the most dangerous substances that we run the risk of inhaling daily are:

Pentachlorophenol (PCP) used to protect wood from parasitic fungi.
Lead.
Chrome.
Titanium dioxide (used for white).
Formaldehyde.

Probably the latter substance is the most (sadly) known, since 2016 in the European Union is classified as ‘substance that can cause cancer’, is present in concentrations up to 9 times higher in the home than outdoors… However, they also let us eat it as a preservative (E240). The maximum concentration limit of this substance is 0.12 mg/m3 (0.1 ppm).

Formaldehyde is responsible for diseases such as asthma, allergy, insomnia, skin irritation. Some companies have begun to remove it from the paints produced.

Is the water varnish safe?

Unfortunately, even in most paints sold as ‘water-based’ (not to be confused with natural paints) there are dozens of chemicals such as surfactants, nonylphenols and phthalates. The latter are responsible for diseases such as diabetes, lupus, cancer and affect the development system and fertility.

The truth is that these elements are everywhere and we should start asking ourselves serious questions about how to deal with all these silent enemies in everyday life. Phthalates, for example, are present in deodorants, toy paints, plastic objects in general, and detergents.

Probably the saddest aspect is that, for every kg. of varnish, 100 Kg. (if, you read right, 100 kilos) of special waste are produced.

How can we get rid of these poisons in the house?

If you want to clear any doubt and take advantage to give a breath of freshness in your home, it’s time to make a healthy choice. In the end, we choose what to buy, don’t we?

The problem is that often we don’t even wonder about what we breathe.

Whose fault is that?

Of no one. We are so caught up in the daily routine that we do not even have time to… breathe! 🙂

The Ecolabel quality mark

To keep all these dangers out, it is important to become aware and read the label of the paint can, paying attention to the value of VOCs/VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) considered responsible for serious effects on the central nervous system in particular. In fact, according to DIN 18363, the organic matter content cannot contain more than 5% VOC/VOC on the dry matter.

Paint manufacturers are required by law to declare this information. The best, of course, is to choose paints at ZERO COV/VOC.

It is also a quality mark called Ecolabel, provided for by EC Regulation No. 66/2010 and issued by the Ecolabel-Ecoaudit Committee, which classifies 26 different types of products and services, including paints. Click HERE to find all certified producers.

Natural paintings

In general, I recommend choosing natural plant-based paints. These paints, by definition: “They must not release volatile substances”, that is, they do not contain chemical solvents, they have 100% biodegradable vegetable or mineral pigments with a yield equal to or greater than that of chemical paints.

In contrast, natural paints contain vegetable oils, especially flax, natural resins and casein. They contain soil-based pigments, metal oxides and various products of mineral or plant origin.

By googling “natural paints” you will find a solution to zero this danger. Among the most experienced companies Ecoccel, Ecoquimía, Biofa, Naturhaus, Livos, Aglaia, Solas, Vegan Color (Aleurites oil), Biodur, Durga, Ecos Paints, Protech (Sanafarbe P), ICA Groups, Max Meyer (Pura Active line).

Among the new generation paintings there are some that even absorb fine particles minimizing their impact, such as the Green VOCation line by Fassa Bortolo.

How can I reduce the inhalation of the paints, if I decide to paint alone?

Since the choice of natural paint poses no risk, the danger of waste products remains, for example, if current paint is to be discarded. I recommend trusting a professional for this intervention. A professional knows how to deal with all these chemicals.

If you want to do it for yourself, in addition to choosing eco-friendly paints, I recommend wearing gloves and masks, but especially open the windows, taking care to cut an onion into four parts and leave a tooth in each room after having spread the paint, to absorb harmful substances.

Alternatively, you can create a mixture of water, salt, lemon and vinegar in a bowl for each room you’ve painted and leave them for at least one night or until the smell is gone.

If you want to delve

On the magazine Ecohabitar I found a super detailed post on this topic. It is in spanish but you can still translate it on Chrome. If you want to read it, please click HERE.

I hope you have at least drawn attention to a subject as important as the paintings we breathe. If you want personalized advice for your home, all you have to do is call +34 646 431 340 or send us a message from Whatsapp to request our ‘Check Up Escudo’.

What is Check Up Escudo?

Escudo means ‘shield’, as the red shield is our logo and it offers a protection to your home against the . If you call +34 646 431 340 we send you to our tutor to make a full visit of your home, without cost or commitment on your part, to define the plan of interventions to be made in the short or long term to improve your lifestyle and increase the value of your home.

See you next time with Raquel!

Photo by David Pisnoy on Unsplash

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