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COLOR ME IN

No matter what era or style you want to simulate in your home, modern trends are naturaland simple. Natural to many means lots of beige, ivory and eggshell. Nice, especially withearthy materials like wood and stone, but it can get boring.

The “green market,” which consist of environmentally-conscious businesses andconsumers, has favored current neutral trends. One reason is because it has been difficultto acquire bright or brilliant colors from natural or non-toxic ingredients. But everyoneknows trends are not forever and people like choices. Therefore, coatings industries withinthe green market have been busy with color research.

Labeled non-toxic paint manufacturing began with just whites and pastels, which suitednatural trends. But now there are colorful choices with our minds, bodies and earth allrespected. Each manufacturer has an amazing selection. Investigate how they differ.

Some brands offer durable, long-lasting enamels which look good for years. They arefrequently recommended for hospitals and are available in a variety of finishes which can betinted to more than 700 interior colors. Not entirely natural, but without the toxic fumes.

Paint pigments that derive naturally from earth or rocks are ground to the finest possibleconsistency for easy mixing. There are limited interior and exterior colors to choose from,but they can be mixed. The Ultramarine selection achieves its colors by heating thepigments at high temperatures. These paints have a high UV resistance, weather well,disperse easily and provide strong coverage with brilliant color tones.

Another safe paint company manufacturers color concentrates and tints from ingredientslike water, earth’s mineral pigments and clay. They add rosemary, eucalyptus and orangeoils to a thorough choice of colors.

Milk Paint dates back to Ancient Egyptian times. People made their own until retailingstarted in the mid 1800's. Milk Paint typically contained milk protein, quicklime and earthpigments. The recipe has been altered a bit, but the unique durabilities from nature’singredients remain. Find historical colors to purchase in powdered, biodegradable form.

I found a company who focuses on safety also selling paint crafts. They offer Easter eggdyes for children, for example. If you want art over color or natural surfaces, try oilpainting with no or very low toxicity. There is a nice selection of colors to choose from.

Think about these paints for more than your walls. How about furniture, household items,kids’ projects, or a fence? Fun with art, color therapy and good fashion taste should besafe.

Chemical sensitivity is not a foreign description anymore. Nearly 30% of our populationtoday suffers from irritability to household products and paint. Most paints and stains arepetroleum-based and contain toxic additives that are designed for a narrow benefit, suchas killing mildew. Thankfully, environmental regulations are on the rise. That’s great, butthere is still a long road to go for the coatings industry. Consumer education and demandshelp. So do labels.

When you read the labels, look for organic and inert ingredients. Learn how to mix yourcolors and be able to repeat the final recipe for later use. Know that different rules applyfor wet and dry paints. And expect to read something about VOCs.

Be aware of VOCs, volatile organic compounds. VOCs are a large family ofcarbon-containing compounds which evaporate into the atmosphere where they participatein photochemical reactions. They have two important properties in common. They arevolatile and vaporize readily. They also contain carbon and are therefore called organic.Some VOCs are said to contribute to stratosphere ozone depletion while other VOCs aretoxic. Harmless and environmental coatings claim low or no VOCs on their labels.

Think it’s safe and groovy to see EPA on the label? Surprise! If the EnvironmentalProtection Agency has a registration number, it means toxic ingredients exist. The numberis for monitoring. So one good way to ensure that you are using a product that is safe bothfor the environment and the applicator, is to seek out products that are not registered withthe EPA.

In summary, today’s eco-green paint market has some darn good color choices that keepgetting better. Add safety to consumer concerns and you wonder why anyone would buyanything else. Especially when you can choose from soft neutrals to vibrant, tropical colors.And did I mention price? I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

With money matters aside, I wish to share a traditional Haida Indian saying: “We do notinherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” We can colorour world safe and beautiful if we try.

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Written by: Delia Montgomery, Chíc Eco


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