compromised immune system; recommend safe brands?

oofasisMay 29, 2011

A couple of rooms and ceilings need to be repainted. With the extent of my emphysema, I cannot be exposed. I will leave the house on work days and stay away until completion. We need to prim as well, and there's some drywall repair to be done.

i don't even know how to begin my search for types of paints. I assume low VOV would be insufficient.

Can anyone here help me?

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Lori A. Sawaya

Look into Mythic Paint.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mythic Paint

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 6:44PM
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Just because a paint is LOW or ZERO-Voc, doesn't mean all that much in some ways....relative to how a person reacts to some ingredients.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:43PM
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I agree that Mythic is one paint to check out. The can of flat paint I have right here says the paint is "zero VOC" and "zero carcinogens," and that it is "low odor." Mythic's eggshell says the same thing, as does its primer. Let's assume all the other finishes are the same. Low odor, of course, isn't necessarily related to VOC percentage, but odors can affect people strongly. (I used, once and never again, California Paints in a couple of rooms, and the odor was so strong that, even with open windows, it gave me a really, really bad headache.) Anyway, I think Mythic paint has a very "organic" odor, kind of like wet clay. One of us just painted a 30 x 10 foot ceiling with the flat paint. The first coat went on early yesterday a.m. The second coat was done at around 4:30 or 5:00 yesterday, and there is still a slightly noticeable, lingering odor, but it's not unpleasant to me. (Quite possibly it's related partly to the fact that we left the roller cover in the room, in the paint pan, instead of cleaning up completely. But given the dimensions of the room, there'd have been a bit of odor regardless I think.) But like I said, the odor isn't offensive, and the person who painted the ceiling has asthma that can be exacerbated by strong odors -- yet had no trouble at all doing the ceiling. the company and/or find a dealer & ask questions. If you like what you hear, buy a sample pot and stick it on a wall to try it out.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:17AM
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I forgot to address your need to do drywall repairs. We bought our Mythic paints at a "green" paint store that also sells "green" wall coverings, flooring, wood stains, caulks, etc. I hadn't checked, but it wouldn't surprise me if the store also carried some kind of "green" drywall and/or spackling compound as well. Many of these products, such as the floor stain, are from Europe, and some are more expensive than similar products you might buy here at a typical hardware or building supply store. But I think any price difference is more than made up for by the (presumably) safer components of the products. Example: We bought some kind of "green" wood stain to do a set of stairs. Absolutely no odor at all. This product may not be as durable as regular oil stains, but my preference is for the "greener" products over durability or other characteristics that regular components may provide....going back to the topic of paint, I suppose it's possible that some "green" paints have coverage issues or that they don't hide what's underneath as well, but we didn't notice any problems with the Mythic paint.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:26AM
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I hesitate to recommend a specific brand due to the regional distribution of paint. Here are some guidelines that apply anywhere.

ZERO VOC is the key, but be certain that whatever brand you choose will remain ZERO VOC after the pigment is added. A couple of major brands do not which is not only misleading, but can cause allergy and breathing issues for anyone affected.

Odor is very subjective and while odor itself is not harmful I know that it certainly can make people feel ill. Most paint stores/departments are willing to pop the lid on a can and allow you to see if you agree with any low/no odor claims being made.

Hope that helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Your Painters, Inc.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 3:22PM
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Low/zero VOC relates only to the paint's impact on the environment; it has no bearing on how someone with chemical sensitivities will react to it (ask me how I know!).

I discovered Mythic paint which is labeled as not only no-VOC but also "non-toxic." You can eat it ;)

Anyway, I tried it and had no trouble with a bad reaction to it (It's actually my teenage son who has the sensitivity). It is kind-of pricey but totally worth it to not get sick! HTH!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:02AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Interesting, scrappy.

DH is uber sensitive to paint. His "reaction" was discovered when his parents painted his bedroom for the first time. He slept in the room and the next morning he was just a mess. Breathing issues, skin reaction, and on and on.

He has to steer clear of fresh paint. Kind of funny considering what I do for a living. lol! But we manage - ventilation is key for him.

Point of the story --- by default, we've done a lil experimenting with different "flavors" of paint. He definitely tolerates some better than others. So, who knows WHAT exactly is in paint that causes a reaction for him.

No VOC, lo VOC, regular old stuff -- doesn't seem to matter and we only know by trying it.

I found ICI/Dulux's LifeMaster through my addiction to Ellen Kennon's Full Spectrum Paints. And DH has no reaction to it whatsoever. So, if he's helping with the painting or if it's a space he can't stay away from for a day, we only use LifeMaster.

Used Farrow & Ball in my office and he chose to steer clear for a week! DH & F&B not a good match.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 3:55PM
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