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What is zero-VOC paint?

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Quick Answer

Paint manufacturers use the term "Zero VOC" to describe paint products that contain little to no volatile organic compounds (VOC). These paints are marketed as being non-toxic, odor-free and safer for the environment than paints with a higher content of volatile organic compounds.

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Full Answer

As of 2014, the federal limit for volatile organic compounds in flat paints is 250 grams per liter and 380 grams per liter for all other types of paint. State and local limits for volatile organic compounds in paints also exist, some of which lower the allowable limits considerably. However, existing regulations only apply to paint bases, not paint tints. Therefore, many paint products, which are marketed as "Zero-VOC" paints, can contain a higher level of volatile organic compounds than is indicated on labels or product specification sheets.

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