Non- Toxic Paint for Refinishing Kids Furniture

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Let's be honest, babies are expensive.

So why not save by painting something old or used? It's a great way to make something feel new, without the high price tag.

The "before"- solid wood bookcase

The "before"- solid wood bookcase

When painting you will want to consider safe products for your home, especially for nurseries and kids spaces. Here I will go through what to look for when picking baby-friendly paint.

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The risk in paint is the amount of VOC's, or gasses emitted, that contribute to the level of toxicity.  This also goes for other refinishing products, such as paint thinners, lacquers, cleaning products, etc.  

So what are VOC's anyway?

VOC's, or Volatile Organic Compounds, can be found in many consumer and commercial products, which have negative impacts to our health and environment.  This is not meant to instil fear, as most of us have been surrounded by low levels of VOCs from various household products that are released into the air.  According to the Government of Canada, "most people are not affected by short-term exposure to the low levels of VOCs typically found in homes". Although the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. 

With more research needed to understand exactly how VOC's are impacting the health and environment, one thing is for certain, try and reduce exposure as much possible: 

  • Use products according to manufacturer's directions
  • Ensure adequate ventilation during use
  • Wear safety protection 
  • Select non toxic paints (no VOC, water-based)

The rise of Non- Toxic Paints- "No VOC" "Zero VOC"

Thankfully the paint industry has caught on and started creating better products for our homes.  Although this has been a somewhat controversial topic, as there have been backlash against some companies claims and a lack of standards for terms like "low VOC" and "Zero VOC". In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently reported that four paint companies settled charges that they misled consumers, claiming products were "VOC free", safe for babies, when in fact they had no evidence to support this. 

It's important that as a consumer, you ask the right questions when shopping for a non toxic paint. If you want low-VOC paint, look for low-VOC base paint and low-VOC colorant, as adding tint to a low VOC base paint can increase the VOC components.

Some great options include chalk (not to be confused with chalkboard), mineral, and milk paints. They tend to be low VOC and low odour. 

What I used

I used Fusion Mineral Paint  and you can read their safety claims here .   

Their paint does not contain VOCs, and unlike many other VOC-free paints, the pigments are also all-natural mineral based; therefore, do not add any VOCs themselves.  In addition, they are certified to be non-toxic by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

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Don't forget safety when sanding!

Removing any old finish can pose a risk. So always follow safety precautions when sanding any finish, as there might be toxic chemicals that you are putting into the air.  

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This little girl is happy with her new bookcase! (or she really has no idea, but I'm happy...)

 

Resources

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/air-quality/indoor-air-contaminants/volatile-organic-compounds.html

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/are-novoc-paint-claims-really-138146

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0253-you-buy-paint

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/07/paint-companies-settle-ftc-charges-they-misled-consumers-claimed

 

 
Marla LubinskyComment