Everything to tinker around the house without risk

Paints, glues, varnishes, solvents… These are products that we often use, without knowing that they contain volatile organic compounds, VOCs, which attack our bronchi and are dangerous for the system. central nervous. It is now possible to renovate your house from floor to ceiling without spreading persistent chemicals that are all as aggressive to your health as each other. Buying products bearing the European eco-label or the NF environment label is already a good start.

Good interior paints… and bad

With the brush well in hand, does the handyman suspect that he risks spreading a mixture of solvents on his walls? , dyes, pesticides, etc. which will diffuse into the room long after drying? Paints are the main source of emissions in the home of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) harmful to health and the environment, including the dreaded formaldehyde, recognized as a carcinogen.

At the top of the charts indoor pollutants, glycerophtalic paints (“oil paints”) contain up to 01% of organic solvents, which are toxic to the skin, the liver, the kidneys.

Some paints also contain additives such as fungicide-based anti-moulds… as if industrial agriculture didn’t give us enough of them!

In acrylic paints (“water-based paints”), solvents are replaced by water, but 5 to 29 % of harmful co-solvents such as hydrocarbons, alcohols or glycol ethers (some of which are toxic for reproduction).

On the other hand, “alkyd emulsion” paints, recently offered by many g great brands, contain very few solvents (from 0.01 to 0.3%).

To identify in-store paints that emit the least VOCs, trust the official eco-labels: NF Environnement (Couleurs du Temps range at Ripolin, for example); European eco-label, more demanding (Everywhere range from Castorama, etc.); Blue Angel, even stricter.

But the safest thing is to turn to natural paints, based on substitute products such as lime, casein (extracted from milk), citrus essences or turpentine, linseed oil, carob or beeswax, propolis, larch resin.

The most resourceful can even make their own paint based on milk and lime! There are very good tutorials on the net.

Beautiful and clean dyes

Paints often contain mineral pigments that are potentially toxic and polluting to produce, the best known being lead, now banned (but still present in the paints of old houses).

Organic distributors offer very varied ranges of pigments and dyes made by enthusiasts, based on earth, plants, even insects, with names more poetic than each other: Tuscan ochre, Lectoure blue, earth Falun red, cochineal violet, dragon’s blood, etc. They come in dry form, in more or less fine colored powders, to tint your paint or coatings yourself: let your imagination run wild by drawing on this great Eco-friendly “coloring box”!

Eco-friendly stain

Stains provide a satin finish that protects and enhances interior woodwork (wainscoting, doors, etc.) or exterior (windows, siding, etc.). For the latter, they also play a role in protecting against bad weather and ultraviolet rays, delaying the aging and graying of the wood.

They carry the same risks as paints, due to the organic solvents which they generally contain. There too, there are products in the aqueous phase, less charged with solvents, or better, ecological alternatives without solvents, based on linseed oil, soybean oil alkyd, wax, lead-free siccative.

Environmentally harmless solvents and strippers

Solvents vegetal origin, based on citrus terpene or turpentine are an alternative to “traditional” petroleum solvents (White Spirit, ethylbenzene, sylene, etc.) or organochlorines (trichloroethylene, known as “triclo”). Discharged into the rivers after cleaning the brushes in the sink, these industrial solvents are a source of pollution.

Beware of cold stripping products which are often based on chlorinated solvents. An interesting alternative to report with BFA® Liquide containing neither chlorinated solvent, nor acid, nor soda.

Wall coverings 100% healthy

In addition to paints, many ecological solutions exist to dress interior walls :

– wooden paneling or cork boards are easy to install, they provide additional insulation and a warm appearance. If chosen correctly, of local origin and without chemical treatments, they are perfectly healthy and ecological. In addition, their thermal conductivity being low (these are so-called “low effusivity” materials), they can contribute to reducing heating inputs.

– interior plasters are suitable for all types of support: they can be based on clay, lime, or raw earth: the luckiest can even use the earth taken from their land or around, if it contains enough clay.

– wallpapers, on the other hand, are to be avoided: they store and release pollutants, in particular cigarette smoke. Vinyl wallpapers are laminated with PVC, they are impermeable to water vapor and emit VOCs.

On the ground, only raw

To cover your floors, choose “raw” materials such as terracotta tiles, solid wood flooring (preferably local, or certified FSC) or cork, and real linoleum (based on linseed oil, cork and wood).

For carpets, prefer wool: they will be less polluting than synthetic carpets.

Vegetable fibers (coconut, seagrass, sisal, hemp, etc.), even if they are often imported, can be a good ecological alternative if they are lined with jute and not synthetic materials.

Glues without VOC

For laying wall and floor coverings, beware of solvents and other toxic products contained in glues: to avoid VOC emissions, turn to solvent-free glues of animal or vegetable origin offered in organic stores.

You can also make your own rice glue or flour.

Varnishing and vitrifying without risk

Parquet varnishes generally contain many solvents that emit VOCs. Ecological stores offer ecological alternatives based on water, wax or hard oils made from natural products: they dry quickly, emit little odor and allow the brushes to be washed with water.

To varnish, also turn to natural alternatives such as shellac, made from crushed shells.

Treating the wood with the help of nature

Wood treatment products, preventive or curative against xylophagous insects (capricorns, termites) and fungi , are, even in the opinion of DIY stores, increasingly toxic: Xylophene products, for example, are guaranteed up to 30 years, proof of their effectiveness against babies… and human health!

To avoid having to use these “weapons of mass destruction”, the first alternative is to choose naturally resistant species, in particular chestnut, larch, or Douglas pine for local species.

You will choose them “purged of sapwood”, the peripheral part of the trunk most sensitive to attacks. And you will listen to the advice of the Elders, which says that a wood cut on the “old moon” (new moon at the end of the cycle) of Christmas will be naturally resistant to all attacks by insects or mould! A well-chosen and well-cut species can thus completely do without treatment.

For new wood outdoors (cladding, terrace, etc.), you can also use wood treated by retification (process which consists of treating the wood without chemicals by heating it at high temperature in several phases), or better still, by oleothermy (a new process that deeply impregnates the wood with entirely vegetable oils, at low temperature.

For preventive treatments on new or old wood, organic stores offer many solutions based on essential oils, linseed oil, coumarone resin, etc. Boron salt (in powder or diluted ready for use) is the solution most often adopted for interior woodwork, due to its efficiency and low cost.

Furniture without chipboard

There is no question of redoing all the decor! Just adopt a few good reflexes: you must Want to buy a new chest of drawers for your baby? Avoid chipboard (laminated or melamine furniture), whose glues contain formaldehyde, a carcinogenic chemical substance responsible for the increase in cases of asthma and allergies. Priority to raw wood. And if you fall for tropical species, prefer those with the FSC label, a guarantee of ecological forest management.

Eco-friendly DIY

Maintain and clean the house

You can clean from floor to ceiling, in all rooms, with just a few natural products: baking soda (to strip or disinfect), white vinegar or lemon (to descale), mops and microfiber cloths (to dust) and multiple natural soaps (to detach). This avoids all household products that emit volatile organic compounds… while saving a lot of money! You can also buy green cleaning products that are increasingly present in certain supermarkets.

Read also:

Gardening, a high-risk activity

Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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