Preparing a nursery is exciting—but when it comes time to pick the perfect shade for your baby’s walls there’s more to consider than style. Conventional paints are chockfull of chemicals that may be harmful to your baby and the environment. Here, we break down the information you need to know to make a safe, healthy choice for your child’s bedroom.
Avoid These Ingredients
There are a lot of chemicals to be wary of in conventional interior paints. Here are the ones that are most important to look out for:
- Volatile organic compounds: “You’ll recognize this chemical as the smelly vapor released when paint dries,” says Puji Sherer, vice president of marketing at eco-friendly paint brand Colorhouse. These compounds can have a variety of adverse health effects and while many brands tout that they’re low in VOCs, your best bet is to choose a product that’s completely VOC-free.
- Formaldehyde: This carcinogenic compound is often used in paint as a solvent or a preservative.
- Crystalline silica: Found mostly in latex paints, this chemical is also known to be highly carcinogenic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns against exposure.
Look For A Certification
An easy way to spot a healthy paint in store is to look for third-party certifications, like the ones below.
- Green Wise Gold: To snag this label, paints must meet the LEED standard and be free of 12 additional toxic chemicals.
- Green Seal: Any paint that bares this seal has been given a stamp of approval by the non-profit of the same name, which develops environmental standards for a variety of consumer products.
- Cradle to Cradle: This product standard helps manufacturers create healthier products for people and the planet. Experts take materials, manufacturing energy, carbon footprint, and more into consideration when rating a product on a five-point scale.
Consider These Brands
Start your search for the perfect hue with these brands, all of which are free from VOCs, formaldehyde, and crystalline silica.
Milkpaint: As its name suggests, this paint is made from milk proteins. By combining casein with limestone and natural pigments, the manufacturer is able to create a stunning array of colors. Bonus: The paint proudly wears the USDA certified Biobased Product Seal, which confirms that its formula is composed of renewable, natural ingredients.
Auro USA: This line of paint is comprised of 99 percent natural raw materials, all of which come from sustainable sources and are free of petrochemicals.
Benjamin Moore: This big brand is leading the way for manufacturing when it comes to creating earth-friendly paints. “They were one of the first brands to look at VOCs not only in the base paint formula but also in the tints used to create their colors,” says Sara Cederberg, technical director for LEED. We love their Cradle to Cradle-certified Natura line, which is VOC and emission-free.
Colorhouse: Offering an array of bold, beautiful hues, this brand’s paints are also free of VOCs and reproductive compounds. The brand touts the coveted Green Wise Gold seal and their paint comes in recycled containers.