Next to having a baby, preparing the nursery may rank as one of the most enjoyable experiences of parenting. One of the biggest influences on the overall decor of the baby's room is the color on the wall. Painting is affordable and you can choose from a seemingly variety of color palettes, which ensures that you come up with just the right scheme to fit your overall décor and make baby’s room extra special. After spending many hours selecting the right colors, preparing the room for painting and then painting, you want to deliver a nursery that exudes warmth, safety and love.
When choosing from paint products, you want to have peace of mind about the visual appearance of the finished product and the air quality. Raising your awareness about traditional paints and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can help you make more informed choices during the pregnancy and for your newborn baby.
Volatile Organic Compounds and Paint Exposure
Many paints contain chemical additives enhance binding and overall product performance. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these additives release gasses known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. You can find VOC in many household products, including carpet, upholstery, mattresses, office equipment, household cleaning products, and paint and varnish. VOCs can trigger serious health reactions if inhaled. One study verifies that sleeping in a bedroom that emit fumes from latex paint and solvents increased the likelihood of contracting asthma, allergies and eczema two to four times. The fresh paint smell that emanates from VOC chemicals will continue for months down the line.
Low VOC and Zero VOC Paints
As defined by the FDA, low- VOC paints contains 250 grams/liter or less, and zero-VOC have 5 grams/Liter or less. In the past, people were reluctant to use low- and zero VOC paints because of their past poor reputation—mainly being hard to apply and less durable than traditional paints. Today, these paint alternatives have improved performance. Nonetheless, even brands that lay claim to the low-and zero VOC paint label contain some degree of VOC due to the VOC contained in some colorants. There are some paint manufacturers on the market who have true zero-VOC paints, derived from eco-friendly plant- clay- and milk-based formulations.
When you find a low- zero-based paint that you prefer, order a sample and conduct a test on a small area. Examine the sheen, coverage and color. Light, flat colors tend to contain lower levels of VOC compared to deep and rich gloss paint.
Pregnancy and Painting
Research does not document effects of household painting on pregnancy and developing babies. You should limit your exposure to traditional paints, especially latex paints that contain ethylene, glycol ethers and biocides. Avoid oil-based paints altogether, as well as mercury and lead. If you reside in a home built before 1978, presume that it contains lead-based paint. Cracked, chipped and peeling paint could cause exposure to lead. Even intact paint can present a health hazard from impact or friction surfaces such as windows and doors, which can generate lead-contaminated dust. Never sand paint that may contain lead. To alleviate any safety concerns, hire a licensed lead removal contractor for this task.
Minimize Paint Exposure
Whether you decide to paint the nursery or hire a professional painting company, complete the project at least two months prior to the expected arrival date, even when you choose an eco-friendly paint, to allow plenty of time for paint fumes to diminish before the newborn comes home.
Other tips for protecting yourself when painting include -
- Wear protective clothing, goggles and high-quality paint respirator
- Create a well-ventilated work area
- Take frequent breaks and move into fresh air
As a new parent, before the baby’s arrival, you have a lot to learn and a lot to do. Take the stress out of painting the baby's room by calling the professionals at ProTect Painters® or by scheduling a free estimate directly on our website. We'll do the painting, and you can sit back and enjoy the experience!