How Non-Toxic is Zero-VOC Paint?

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Green Diva Lisa was out this week, so EcoKaren, captain of EcoEtsy and editor of GreenLivingIdeas sat in as guest Green Diva. We had Green Dude Paul in the studio and we all had a pretty good time! Some surprising and disturbing news from green house expert, Chris Murphy of Smart Little House on how zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint may not be exactly non-toxic. We aired the rest of our interview with Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan about how they each arrived on the green living path and their new eco-baby and green lifestyle business the The Honest Company.

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Sleeping Naked is Green segment: Use Low-VOC or Water-Based Paints

Chris Murphy of Smart Little House called in for this one – VOCs (Volelite Organic Compounds) are chemical compounds that vaporize into the air when they dry, so we breathe them in, and they can cause a variety of health and environmental issues. Chris kind of surprised us when he said that not all non-VOC paints or household products are necessarily toxic free. He points out that similar to the food industry, not all ingredients have to be listed and are not currently regulated. So, while low or zero-VOC products are good, they are only low in the hundreds of toxic chemicals being regulated and the reality is that there are hundreds of thousands of NON-REGULATED toxic chemicals that could be and are sometimes included, but not listed. Oh boy. Lots of homework to be done here!

Chris noted that a Harvard study showed that kids have a higher rate of asthma and allergies when their rooms were freshly painted while they were newborns or before they were born.

For information on choosing healthier paints, Chris recommended going to

Listen this Sleeping Naked is Green 5-minute segment.

FEATURED GUEST(s) – co-Founders, Jessica Alba & Christopher Gavigan of the Honest Company

Both Jessica and Christopher have taken slightly different paths to sustainable living, but they both are passionate about presenting ideas and products with clarity and transparency to help avoid all the green washing going on. The Honest Company was inspired by Jessica’s children and from necessity, because as Jessica stated, when she became a mother she found it hard to find products that were truly green, safe, and really eco-friendly for her children.

If you liked this interview, you’ll want to mark your calendars because Jessica and Christopher will be on the Green Divas Radio Show LIVE on March 31! Please post questions for them on the Green Divas Radio Show Facebook page and we’ll be sure to ask them for you!

As always, please visit our website for LOTS of relevant links & resources from the show - Green Divas website.

Hope you’ll listen to this broadcast!

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Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

Important knowledge!

Carmen S.
Carmen S.3 years ago

thanks for sharing this

Kate W.
Kate W.3 years ago

Great article, but you might want to make a correction:
VOCs (Volelite Organic Compounds)
Should be Volatile Organic Compounds.


Andy O.
Past Member 3 years ago

Interesting info.

Robert O.
Robert O.3 years ago


Kristina C.
Kristina C.3 years ago

I think it is great that we have paints that a no longer as toxic, but before we all knew about this - we just happily painted away without problems.

Lydia Price

All products are misleading. Just like the ones that honestly state "not tested on animals." Of course they're not. Not anymore! Many of these ingredients have already been tested by the cosmetic and toiletry industry before you and were tested on animals extensively, especially in rabbit's eyes. Now, you can honestly say that you don't test, but that doesn't make that product cruelty free. Just like this paint. It doesn't mean that it's non-toxic. And how do they know what's toxic and what's not? By making animals eat it and wear it and breathe it in! Someone please tell us how to make our own products!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons3 years ago

It is a balance. Probably many of these toxic chemicals could be removed. Then, on the other hand, some of them are there for a reason. Chemicals can inhibit decay, mold, uv light deterioration etc.

Ana R3 years ago

Great article.Thank you.:)