How to Look for Natural Nursery Paints

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.