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Green Coatings Truths and Myths

SpecialChem / Aug 9, 2006

Just about everyone these days has a "green" product in the coatings industry. There is 'Eco this' or 'Enviro that' labeling. Manufacturers splash exotic colors all over their slick brochures with lush green leafs and tranquil waterfalls cascading in the background. They inform us how their coatings are environmentally friendly and will help protect our fragile ecosystems. But are these coatings really environmental at all? Not always. Many environmental organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Seal have established a number of well intentioned but erroneous standards regarding VOCs. Generally speaking, VOC levels for interior latex paints are 150 g/L for non-flat paints and 50 g/L for flat paints. Exterior paints are typically 200 g/L for non-flat and 100 g/L for flat paints. But what does this all mean? Perhaps it means very little because VOCs are only calculated on the base white product and without the colorant system.

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