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Keeping the sky blue


What color is a healthy sky? The standard answer is blue but, will it always be blue, without our help?

Be aware of VOC emission when selecting paint for your next project.

In honor of Earth Day, consider a small change to keep the sky blue for future generations.

 If you've shopped for paint recently, you have seen the words VOC’s, but what does it mean to you?
VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, in paint, are harmful gasses that float into the air for up to five years after applied. The same air you need to survive.They contribute to greenhouse gasses and are bad news for the future of the place we call home, Earth.

"By far, people painting their houses is the largest source category of emissions under our regulatory jurisdiction," says Naveen Berry, planning and rules manager at the AQMD. (Air Quality Management District)

For many years, VOC’s emissions were overlooked when building or renovating. That is rapidly changing as we learn of the damaging effects to our environment. When redecorating, consider paint selections that have positive, not negative, effects on the larger picture.

Consumer Reports, the trusted name for independent reviews, measured VOC levels in untinted bases and tinted paints marketed as zero-VOC. Current local, state, and federal regulations cover only VOCs in the bases. But tints, which are added to all bases, also contain VOCs. So the paint you apply will probably have a higher VOC level than what's indicated on the can. More detailed result information can be seen on the Consumer Reports website.

The agency that sets the acceptable limits for VOC's is the EPA. The current Environmental Protection Agency’s VOC limits are -

250 grams per liter (g/l) for flat paints, and 380 g/l for other finishes.

Pennsylvania’s VOC limit for flat paints is the same as the EPA’s, 250 grams per liter Other states have further lowered the allowable limits for VOC’s. If you want to get involved with VOC changes, the local Harrisburg area EPA website is

From a health perspective, less is always better when it comes to VOC's.

One small change contributing to a better future for all.

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