July 2009


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Erik Heikel <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
VGBN Discussion <[log in to unmask]>, Erik Heikel <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 7 Jul 2009 11:12:34 -0400
text/plain (94 lines)
With every "green" product there is always the performance aspect to 
account for. AFM Safecoat may be the real No VOC according to their 
literature, but the finished product looks awful. I bought Safecoat from 
Planet Hardwood for a bath remodel and after (6) finish coats you can 
still see the tape joints and MR drywall through the paint. There were 
unmixed pigments in the paint as well, which was a real pain in the 
neck. Planet Hardwood had no interest in helping me resolve the problem, 
so I've switched to another No VOC brand and have had no problems and 
great customer service.

Bottom line: The best intentions or latest and greatest product can 
never replace solid business practices. The green movement will continue 
to move forward and the businesses that can't provide good customer 
service will be left behind.

Erik Heikel

Peter Nazarenko wrote:
> Andrew Pace is the author/owner of Degree of Green 
> Degree of Green is a “scorecard” which 
> helps retailers classify and identify (in other words, cut through the 
> crap) products and their impact on people and the environment. He also 
> distributes AMF Safecoat paint and wrote this as part of an e-exchange 
> about VOC’s and paint:
> This is a topic I've been screaming about to deaf ears for quite a long
> time. I'm glad it's starting to surface again. According to the EPA, a
> volatile organic compound is classified as any carbon-based chemical 
> that is
> readily vaporized at room temperature, that can react with nitrogen 
> and UV,
> thus creating smog. However, when the EPA created the VOC regs, they gave
> specific exemption to several chemicals that are still carbon-based, 
> but do
> not react to create smog. Ammonia and butyl acetate are two of the more
> common ones. Anyway, when paint companies use these and similar chemicals
> in their formulas, they can have the VOC test results show that the 
> paint is
> Zero VOC less exempt compounds. Otherwise known as, "Calculated VOC".
> The term "odorless paint" actually refers to the process of adding another
> set of chemicals to paint to act as masking agents. Some of these
> ingredients also act as formaldehyde precursors, which are 
> undetectable in a
> liquid state, but actually chemically react to create formaldehyde 
> once the
> curing process starts. Keep in mind, odorless mineral spirits is still
> mineral spirits! Just because it no longer has the usual solvent smell
> doesn’t mean that its no longer dangerous. But for some reason, we humans
> have this innate desire to connect the strength of smell to a danger level
> or lack thereof.
> Regarding the MSDS... An MSDS only has to list hazardous chemicals 
> that make
> up more than 1% of the volume of the entire formula. In essence, a paint
> company can put in several formaldehyde precursors, chemical masking 
> agents
> and biocides, and not have to list any of them because individually 
> they are
> less than 1% of the volume. If an ingredient is part of a "proprietary
> blend", it doesn't have to be listed either.
> For human health concerns, the VOC level of a product is not 
> important. The
> TOXICTY of the ingredient, whether its a VOC or not, is important. Oranges
> are not regulated, as far as I know. Yet, orange oil is a VOC. Pine trees
> are not regulated by the EPA either.
> In an effort to sell product, the paint companies are trying to make
> everyone think that their zero VOC formulas are safe for humans without
> actually coming out and saying it. They use terms like “green” and
> “eco-friendly” etc., and we all read into it too much. If you really want
> to use a paint that is truly healthier for the occupants, then look into
> products that have been used successfully by the chemically sensitive.
> These “canaries in the mineshaft” have been able to tolerate AFM Safecoat
> paint since it came out almost 30 years ago. AFM lists all of their
> ingredients on their data sheets. Yes, it has titanium dioxide in it, as
> does all white paint. But, so does toothpaste.
> I co-authored an article about paint ingredients a couple years ago that
> dealt with some of’s where it is posted
> It would be great if more folks would push the green building groups 
> to deal
> with the human health aspect of green building....not just the
> eco-friendliness of it.