GREENPAINTERS

GreenPainters is the national sustainability initiative for the painting industry. It is a non-profit certification program providing training, consumer information and skills to promote environmentally preferable coatings technology.




CSIRO studies have shown that occupants of new Australian homes may be exposed to up to 20 times the maximum allowable limits of indoor air toxics for up to ten weeks after completion. Further CSIRO measurements in 27 suburban Melbourne residences more than a year after construction identified 27 airborne toxics.

These included the carcinogens benzene, formaldehyde and styrene, and a cocktail of methanol, ethanol, acetone, toulene, dichlorobenzene plus a number of less well-known toxics, most of which are found in paints. Mineral turpentine (used as a thinner and solvent) may contain up to 20% benzene, which is a confirmed carcinogen and mutagen in chronically exposed workers. CSIRO estimates that indoor air pollution costs the Australian community in excess of $12 billion a year in illness and lost productivity.

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"Regular paints give off low level toxic fumes that can cause breathing irritations and headaches. Painted surfaces can continue 'off gassing' fumes for months after painting. The good news is that many paint companies now offer healthier low emission products for the same cost. (These are also known as 'low VOC' products)"