Breathe Easy, Pros

by inPAINT

Breath Easy ProsThese days, everyone likes to talk about ‘green’ initiatives and what they can do to limit harmful emissions into the air.

Certainly, as paint professionals, we know that the materials we use can affect air quality. But what you might not know is how serious the problem is, especially in an indoor setting.

According to studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can be as much as five times more polluted than outdoor air. Chemical pollutants, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can trigger a number of health issues such as headaches, allergy attacks, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and even some forms of cancer. And it’s even worse for kids. The EPA and the National Institutes of Health estimate that children are exposed to poor indoor air quality more than 72% of the time. This might account for the rise in asthma conditions in children younger than 5 years old, which have increased more that 160% over the past 14 years. What’s more, the direct health care cost to treat asthma in this country is $11.5 billion, along with another $4.8 billion in lost productivity.

Those are scary numbers! That’s where UL Environment’s GREENGUARD Certification becomes a valuable tool—not only to create customer confidence, but also in giving you an edge in a competitive marketplace. GREENGUARD is broadly recognized for setting the industry standard for sustainable building programs and building codes, both domestically and internationally.


UL Environment, which is a division of Underwriters Laboratories, created the GREENGUARD Certification program to help paint pros and others in the building industry identify products, coatings and materials that have low chemical emissions in indoor spaces.

Products that have GREENGUARD Certification must meet stringent emissions standards based on established chemical-exposure criteria. This performance-based certification uses field-validated standards to identify products and materials with low chemical and particle emissions, all of which are required to be tested annually for more than 10,000 individual VOCs.


1 According to a Harris Interactive study, paint was ranked at the top of the product list as being ‘extremely to very important’ to have indoor air-quality certification.

2 Poor indoor air quality is recognized by the World Health Organization as, “one of greatest modern risks to human health.”

3 According to the EPA, common VOCs in indoor air include carcinogens, reproductive toxins, odors and irritants.

4 A recent McGraw-Hill Construction World Green Building Trends survey of architects and designers
showed that indoor air quality ranked as the top sustainability attribute, second only to energy efficiency, with 32% selecting it as the top concern.

To learn more about the GREENGUARD Certification program or how to talk to your customers about it, go to

Behr6_spreads-94Tim Crout is the President of Crout & Heller Painting Services, Tempe, AZ. He and his partner, Bruce Heller, have a combined 50 years of experience in the painting and coating industry. Crout & Heller offers quality painting services to both the commercial and residential industries.

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