Mainstream industrial decorative coatings such as paints and stains generally contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which can continue to degrade interior air quality over time. Some have been linked to respiratory problems and even cancer, and others damage the ozone layer. There are healthier, more eco-friendly alternatives.
For thousands of years, paints and plasters were formulated using natural materials. These tried and true techniques were largely forgotten with the success of the petrochemical paint industry during the post-World War II building boom. Today, when you purchase a gallon of paint - even 'low-VOC' or 'zero-VOC' paint- it is almost a given that you will be using a product that contains hundreds of chemicals and has been highly processed. Many of the ingredients in conventional paints are derived from crude oil. This manufacturing process is very energy-intensive and results in significant waste products that can potentially lead to environmental contamination.