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What is VOC-free paint?

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Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are potentially harmful carbon-based chemicals often found in paints. The Environmental Protection Agency defines VOC-free paint as having a level of less than 5 g/L of VOCs. However, this level is measured before pigmentation is added, which can further contribute to the level of VOCs.

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Even if a paint is labeled no VOC or low VOC, it still may contain other toxic and potentially dangerous chemicals. As of 2014, paints that carry the "Green Seal" must have low VOC content in addition to being free of many other toxic materials. This list includes carcinogens, reproductive toxins, heavy metals, air pollutants, formaldehyde donors and many others.

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