- better health for you, the painter, and the environment

You’re wanting to paint that room that’s growing shabbier by the day, or get a professional to do it for you. In a word, what you’re looking for is transformation. But what style of transformation? A quickie - slap a coat on and be dome? Or a more thoughtful treatment - perhaps a masterpiece that draws envy from the spirit of Da Vinci?
Okay - something mid-range along that wild continuum.
You choose the color(s), and the sheen. You know you want quality paint, a coating that adheres well and is easy to wash. These days, from this point onward in the process, there are a number of choices you can make that will have an effect on the health and well-being of yourself, the members of your family, as well as the painter (if you’re hiring) and the environment.
Starting with the coating itself, because all synthetic materials gas off, many paints, although dry to touch within an hour or so, will continue to gas of on a molecular level, more or less indefinitely, and certainly for days, or weeks, on a level that can affect those who have to live with it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. gov’t.), VOCs can cause respiratory, skin and eye irritation; headaches; nausea; muscle weakness; and more serious ailments.
Although the human capacity to cope with foreign materials is quite remarkable, why put your system through the extra strain? For a 3-4 dollars more per gallon, there are now “zero-emission” paints (no VOCs – or volatile organic compounds) on the market. Where feasible (90% of cases), an environmentally conscious painter uses these alternative products for interior applications.
This development is especially beneficial for anyone in the household or workplace who may suffer from environmental effects (perhaps all of us, on some level).

Other considerations for the environment include:

- buying quality tools and materials, vs. cheap throwaway items.

- recycled goods (e.g., drapery material from the local charity thrift store, vs. new canvas drop sheets.

- Care of tools, vs. tossing them out due to neglect. A five-in-one and a wire brush, when applied at optimal timing, make great paint extractors for brushes and rollers.

- At the end of the job, using the five-in-one and wire brush to remove maximum paint from the tools means less paint ends up in the environment due to the clean up process.

- There are effective non-toxic alternatives for almost any task, including cleaning solutions and paint removers.

- When finished, you can save leftover paints for a future job. After all, it’s a high quality product (and I can tell you’re the kind that can find an imaginative way to incorporate it later). Or think of someone you know who could use it. There are also “free stores” in many neighborhoods where you can leave paint.

- During clean up, use a bucket-collecting process to retain most of the paint residue. Let the paint settle after cleaning tools, then pour off the almost-water, saving the residue at the bottom of the old paint can, or similar receptacle, where it can harden and not end up in ground water.

Article by The Green Painter, Josef Graf, certified journeyman painter and director of the Earth Vision project - http://www.evsite.net/

For more information on green options, and further details on points made here, as well as general tips and resources for the home-owner, visit:

The Green Painter: http://www.yukonpainter.com

Author's Bio: 

Josef Graf has been a certified journeyman house-painter for over 18 years. Along with his Green Painter website - www.yukonpainter.com - he is the director of Earth Vision, a project that addresses nature and environmental issues in the light of spiritual ecology.
Visit the site at - www.evsite.net