Messages Archive

Re: Some food for thought......
Response To:
Re: VOCs in finishing ()

Jesper, Denmark
There is a lot of concern over VOC's. Quite rightly so, but there is too little discussion about the alternative water based coatings.

In nearly all cases, the finished film forming material is a hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons are not soluble in water, so a co-solvent is needed to make the film chemical soluble in the water base.

This co-solvent is very often a glycol ether or derivative thereof. These are NOT nice chemicals, and are not as volatile as the VOC's, so it must be assumed that they stay longer in the finished film than the VOC's would have.

Google "glycol ether" and read the Wiki article. On the same Google listing, there are several other articles from reputable sources, such as EPA, which discuss the potential hazards.

The tendency is to consider "water based" and "low VOC" as synonymous with " safe". This may not be the right assumption. It may simply be that these chemicals have not been in use long enough for the health hazards to be fully documented.

Personally, I prefer the devil I do know (VOC) to the devil I do not know.

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