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Low VOC Paint, what difference does it make?

Posted by Victoria Yardley on


You may or may not be familiar with the term ‘low VOC paint’ but if you haven’t heard of it before we thought it made sense to start off by defining it. VOC stands for ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’ that can occur naturally which includes materials such as ethanol or can be synthesised chemically. 

Paints are made up of a variety of elements, some include elements of a natural origin such as chalk, clay and natural oils. Other elements are synthetic, derived from a variety of chemical processes. These components are what is known as VOCs. This article will cover the details of low VOC paint and how it differs from typical VOC paint. 

What is Low VOC Paint?

Low VOC paint is paint that contains less ‘volatile organic compounds’ than traditional coatings. Although every effort has been made to remove VOCs in paints through the purification process and the replacement of some materials, there will still be traces in the finished product. This is why it is important to look out for any companies that describe their paint products as ‘VOC free’ or ‘No VOC’ which can be misleading because there is no such thing as 100% VOC-free paint. 

The British Coatings Federation made a statement emphasising the point that companies claiming to provide paint with ‘zero VOCs’ are not following the government's guidance on green claims which wants companies to make clear, accurate claims that avoid misleading consumers. Despite the industry's best efforts, unfortunately there are still some paint companies in the UK that continue to mislead their customers by promoting their ‘zero VOC’ products that simply do not exist. However, Low VOC Paint does exist and here at Victory colours we offer low, virtually VOC free paint in a range of up to date colours.

What are the benefits of using Low VOC Paint?

Victory Colours have worked hard to create ethical, sustainable, eco friendly and vegan paint that eliminates VOCs every step of the way through production and manufacturing of our paint products, however some traces will always manage to sneak their way in. You might be wondering, okay so we know what VOCs are and what low VOC means but the important element here is, what is the difference between the two? 

  • First and foremost, our Low VOC Paint is as safe as possible for humans and animals.  
  • Ultra Low odour causes by nasty chemicals in other paints
  • Minimal contributions to the atmosphere
  • Great opacity and durability
  • Washable properties making it easy to clean, perfect for as home with children or animals
  • Beautiful up-to-date range of colours

As well as the list of benefits that come with using our paints, we carry through an environmentally conscious approach by using packaging that is recycled and recyclable. Primarily our packaging is produced from fast growing, sustainable ingredients such as bamboo. 

low VOC paint

What are the risks of using typical paint with higher levels of VOC

There has been a long history of side effects associated with exposure to VOCs. These include irritation, particularly amongst those with sinus issues or asthma. Paints that contain high levels of VOC can be dangerous as the VOC materials can include: benzene, methylene chloride and many others. These volatile compounds have been linked to cancer by a variety of studies relating to indoor air quality by the environmental protection agency

To put it into perspective VOCs are present in a variety common sources including exhaust fumes and cleaning products. When VOCs come into contact with direct hear, such as radiators, they can react causing ground level smog according to So, as you can imaging, it is not ideal to be inhaling these chemicals on a daily basis, which you could be doing if your home is decorated using typical paint with higher VOC levels.

What is the price difference between the two?

You may be wondering what is the price you have to pay for low VOC paint as there are a lot of benefits of it but it takes a more thorough approach to production and extra attention to the extraction of VOCs. 

Typically, yes low VOC paint would cost more than traditional paint. However, it is a false economy when it comes to trying to cut corners and save money by purchasing cheap paint. The cheaper the paint, the lower its quality. Therefore you are going to have to update and replace more frequently as the cheaper paint is more likely to fade or mark. Another downside is that cheap paints are the ones more likely to contain the highest levels of VOCs which means you pose the risk of inhaling toxic chemicals for years to come. 

Summary of Low VOC Paint

Here at Victory Colours, we want to raise awareness of the risks associated with Volatile Organic Compounds. We have seen a tremendous increase in the popularity of eco friendly, vegan, low VOC paint which shows that people are interested in these products, we just need to make sure more people are aware of them and the benefits that come with using them. We have worked hard to produce products that have all of these amazing qualities whilst maintaining the highest quality, durability and opacity.


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