Eco Friendly Paint


Source-Karen Paton-Evans, Special to The Star

A coat of paint can refresh a room and infuse it with style and personality. Hidden within the wet pigment, however, are chemicals that may bother the environment in the home and beyond the newly painted walls.

Locally, family's intent on decorating are "concerned about the people in the home and what they are exposed to," says Denise Prieur, manager of Manz Decorating. Of particular concern are mothers-to-be, children and chemical-sensitive adults.

"We have customers who can't take the chemicals and the odours," Denise explains.

Others are worried about the paint's environmental impact, especially during application and clean-up. "A lot of people are looking for something that is very durable but as safe as you can get," Denise finds.

In response, Benjamin Moore has released its Aura line in Canada, the first really new technology in paint since latex in the 1950s.

Aura is a 100 per cent acrylic paint matched with a waterborne colourant system that is eco-friendly and performance enhancing. Originally made available in the U.S. in 2002, the paint had years of testing and use in homes before it arrived in Canada just months ago.

Manz Decorating Centre's customers, including professional painters and do-it-yourselfers, have tried Aura paint with success. Denise's husband got out his roller and tray and experimented.

"He thought it was the nicest paint he has ever used," the pleased wife says.

Local customer feedback consistently includes comments such as "great performance," "easy to work with" and "really rich looking colours."

Only soap and water are required for washing the mild paint off brushes and other tools. "You don't need chemicals for clean-up," Denise assures.

"It's definitely a comfort to know you're selling a quality product," she says. "I feel good about sending customers home with [Benjamin Moore's Aura paint]."

By the millennium, Benjamin Moore had developed Eco Spec paint, which was certified by Greenguard Environmental Institute for meeting Greenguard Indoor Air Quality standards. Greenguard, which is an independent, non-profit organization that identifies and promotes environmentally friendly products.

The Aura line was certified in 2007 by Greenguard for meeting its Indoor Air Quality standards. It measures favourably against conventional paint colourants, which contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that evaporate into the atmosphere and contribute to air pollution. Aura's waterborne colourant system helps it meet Canada's most stringent VOC regulations of 50 grams per litre. Although the paint's chemical formula is milder than other paints, its performance is strong.