How to Paint Without Increasing Cancer Risk
Every wall of our new home needed a fresh coat of paint. A dozen gallons of paint later, we moved in without any evidence of off-gassing toxic, cancer-causing chemicals. This is of the utmost importance for our family given my cancer history (with lymphoma, think significant environmental toxicant exposure) and also because my wife is chemically sensitive and reacts to airborne pollutants.
How did we do it when paint smell can linger for weeks? We chose a brand of paint that put the health of people and the environment first. Research revealed two such brands that fit the bill: AFM Safecoat and ECOS Paints. Both have high standards for paint quality, and both are leading the industry in paints with zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Many large paint companies advertise zero-VOC paints but fail to disclose other toxic ingredients, such as solvents and biocides. Upon consultation with several colleagues who specialize in environmental medicine, we chose ECOS Paints for being the best-tolerated brand for patients with chemical sensitivities.
Several coats of paint later, our walls look great and we are all breathing easy knowing exactly what we aren’t being exposed to: ECOS is 100 percent transparent with ingredient disclosure and is committed to educating consumers about why we need to think beyond VOCs.
Perhaps you are wondering why you would pay a premium price for less-toxic paint if nobody in your household has chemical sensitivities. If you are a cancer patient, the answer is self-evident: VOCs are an airborne toxicant linked to cancer formation.1,2
This is of critical importance to anyone with a cancer history or taking steps to prevent cancer—last I checked that covers everyone without a death wish. No hyperbole here, just common sense. Cancer is caused by carcinogens, and VOCs can be carcinogenic. If you want to lower cancer risk, lower carcinogen exposure.
Perhaps you can’t control the toxic environment (and people) at work, but you can control what you put in your body, on your body, and the building material that houses your body. Doing so might leave you so empowered that you might just quit that toxic job and work from home in your nontoxic house.