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”!
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.