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Painting your home or office isn’t just about color and having a fresh-looking interior. There is also the environment to consider, not to mention your health and well-being. Eco-friendly paints offer the best of these worlds.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established several attributes for green paints, including the elimination or at least the reduction of toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia, fungicides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Traditional paints may also have odor masking agents that are not so good for the environment. Paints that have recycled content, natural pigments, or have a clay, lime, or milk protein base are also considered eco-friendly.

There are many such products on the market, and they’re not hard to find. Here is a list of the top picks we’ve found, and which can provide the best in quality, durability, and eco-friendliness.

Top Picks

Benjamin Moore: The paint products leader has several suitable options on the market. They include its Pristine EcoSpec Paint, which impressively has less than 10 grams of VOCs per liter. The minimum for a product to be considered low-VOC is 200 grams per liter. This low-odor, 100 percent acrylic latex paint, therefore, fits the bill. Sold as a base white, the product can be mixed with a variety of off-white and neutral shades. To take things a step further, the company’s Natura Waterborne Paint qualifies for zero-VOC status and comes in a full range of colors. It also doesn’t require a primer and is fine for use on most types of surfaces.

Yolo Colorhouse: This product has no VOCs and is water based. Created by two artists from Portland, Oregon, it is Green Seal certified and free of formaldehyde, phthalates, and carcinogens. It originally came in 49 shades, and 40 new colors have been recently added. In addition to eco-friendly paint, customers also receive the paint in a recycled plastic container, featuring labels made of recycled materials. Soy ink is used to print them, and the company’s biodiesel-fueled vehicles ship the products to market.

Sherwin-Williams: You’ll find paints of all kinds from this famous company. It is also no stranger to the eco-friendly paint market, and its zero-VOC Harmony acrylic latex paint suits any desire for a health- and eco-friendly product. Plus, mold and mildew are deterred because it includes an anti-microbial ingredient. A healthier home can also be kept cleaner too.

Behr: At Home Depot, you can find Behr Premium Plus Enamel Low Luster, which has zero-VOC versions. These come in a number of finishes, including flat interior, semi-gloss, eggshell, and base finishes, and in 4,000 different colors. Not only can you find the ideal shade; you can also have an eco-friendly pick to show off after repainting.

Dunn-Edwards EcoShield: Originally used for schools, hotels, and hospitals, among other buildings with limited ventilation, this low-odor line of paints is free of ethylene glycol. It is MPI Green Performance Standard rated. The standard has implemented various levels of low VOC ratings (from E0 to E3, which means there are less than 101 grams of VOCs per liter), but also factors in the performance and durability of any given product.

Olympic Premium: Also Green Seal certified, this “Class A” line of interior and exterior paints cover a wide range of needs. It has been recognized with the Product Innovation for Consumer Safety award by the Home Safety Council.

Timber-Pro UV Wood & Masonry Finishes: This line proves that not only basic wall paints can be low in VOCs and eco-friendly. Its wood finishes are waterborne and plant-oil based, but they stain, seal and protect surfaces as well as anything else. The product line also consists of concrete, masonry, and paver sealing compounds that are safe for the environment.

Auro USA: The company says its products are good for the planet, and the proposition is accurate given the paints are made of 99 percent natural raw materials. Its products are petrochemical free. instead, many of them contain organically produced raw linseed oil. Natural pigments are sold so the paints can be tinted to your desire.

Other good eco-friendly choices include Green Planet Paints. They use soy-based resins, along with mineral-based pigments and clay formulations. About as organic as they come, this product comes with a can that lists every single ingredient.

Homestead House Paint Company is another place to look. The company offers a 100 percent acrylic paint that can be applied atop other paints without a problem. It looks similar to milkpaint, a choice that many people are going with. Containing food-based ingredients, this one is biodegradable, yet is durable and comes in 20 colors, which can be mixed with white to get different shades. Old Fashioned Milk Paint is the company. It claims there are no poisons, latex, lead, mercury, plastics, petroleum by-products, or anything else that’s harmful, and the products are safe for pregnant women, children, and people with chemical sensitivities.

Anna Sova, a company specializing in organic, healthy home products, offers non-VOC wall paints that are also made with food-grade materials. These are suitable for everyone, including women who are pregnant and young children who are naturally more sensitive to volatile compounds and chemicals. If a paint with sustainable raw materials sounds appealing, Harmony Interior Latex has zero-VOC and low solvent content products that contain soy and sunflower oil. The company also brands them as bacteria and mildew resistant, so you get highly functional paints that don’t harm health or the environment, and help maintain interior freshness.

If you’re still not convinced, or the price just isn’t right, you don’t have to buy eco-friendly paint at all. Natural ingredients and pigments can be combined to make them from scratch. This method can be more reassuring to some because you can avoid biocides and VOCs altogether and throw natural dyes and pigments into the mixture. Still, there’s no better assurance for durable, long-lasting eco-friendly products from some of the leading paint manufacturers.

The best picks for eco-friendly paint listed here should help you get started on the search for a perfect choice.

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