Cleaner Paints for Greener Buildings

July 12, 2010

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Man’s treatment of the environment has created a huge effect in the world, compromising our current existence and even our future. Chemical toxins are on the very air we breathe. The foods we eat are a product of insecticides and fertilizers. Nearly every manufacturing and industrial plant spews hazardous waste and gasses, contaminating our air, water, and the ground we walk on.

The construction industry is as guilty as the rest. Materials used in construction are often harmful to the environment. Paint manufacturers used to synthesize top coats, primers, sealers, corrosion resistant coatings, and nearly all types of conventional coatings from harmful chemicals. Paints are often formulated with lead and mercury metals. Worse, paints and varnishes are formulated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as phenols, formaldehydes and xylene used as solvents. These VOC solvents are released to the environment during the paint’s drying process.

With more stringent VOC requirements being imposed by environment-friendly regulating bodies, the coatings industry is compelled to reformulate their range of corrosion resistant coatings to fulfill the requirements. The difficulty in compliance comes from the following:

  1. Reformulating corrosion resistant paints and other products to remove VOCs.
  2. Reduce operational costs accrued from paint reformulation and manufacture.
  3. Maintaining the same performance in low-VOC paints offered by conventional paints.

Large amount of time and manpower are dedicated to changing the current paint formulations. Some major manufacturers spend as much as 40% of their resources to reformulating green paints.

The result? The gradual disappearance of many heavy metals such as lead or hexavalent chromium in paints, resulting to lowered VOCs emission. Anti-corrosive pigments in corrosion inhibitors are also being reformulated to get rid of toxic and carcinogenic materials. The effort maybe huge but it is all worth it.

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