Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are compounds that evaporate at room temperatures, and some are harmful to your health as well as to the environment. Interior paints historically have contained significant levels of VOCs, but Sherwin-Williams and PPG Architectural Finishes had been selling what they called “zero” VOC paints with some success.
As it turns out, those claims weren’t true, and the two companies have settled charges by the FTC that they misled consumers to believe that some of their paints were free of VOCs. As a result, Sherwin-Williams and PPG Architectural Finishes will stop making Dutch Boy Refresh and Pure Performance interior paints, respectively.
Low VOC paints are available, but according to the FTC, if that’s what you want you need to look for paint that is low VOC for both the base paint and the tint, or colorant. Particularly if you have the paint color mixed for you, the store may be using and low VOC base, but the colorant could be high in VOC.
So be sure to check both if low VOC is important to you.
Now, if you’re looking for an air purifier to help remove VOCs, be aware that unless the product says specifically that it cleans VOCs, it won’t. Many manufacturers, including the brands we sell, have products that remove smoke and gases, but VOCs are a special class and you can’t assume a standard smoke and gas filter will do the job. That’s why for VOCs we suggest only the IQAir GC Multigas VOC or the IQAir Dental Pro.