Environmental Toxins - Paints and Adhesives
Most commercial paints, stains, finishes and adhesives contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxic additives that have been linked to significant health and environmental problems. The primary route of exposure is respiration, and while acute exposure symptoms are easily recognized (dizziness, nausea, wheezing, coughing, etc.), symptoms related to chronic exposure may not be evident for weeks, months or years. These include neurological problems, asthma, endocrine disruption and cancer. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to these toxins and should avoid any exposure.
Fortunately, low-VOC or no-VOC paints and stains are becoming more widely available for commercial and residential use.
Green America has a very useful web page with information about eco-friendly paints and stains, with purchasing information. Most of the information on the page comes from Annie Berthold-Bond's book, Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999).