For example, if a paint uses organic solvents rather than a water base, it will release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the surrounding air. As a result, solvent-based paints can also contain about 50 per cent more embodied energy. VOCs are detrimental to indoor air quality. Exposure can trigger headaches; irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous systems; and loss of coordination.
An ingredient such as titanium dioxide, widely used in the paint industry as a pigment, has its major environmental impact occur during its manufacture. This is because it has high embodied energy, is a limited resource, and its production can result in unsustainable air and water emissions.
The standard sets requirements that aim to provide a benefit by:
• reducing waste generation and resource consumption
banning ozone-depleting substances
• requiring that water and air emissions are responsibly managed
• minimising VOC (volatile organic compounds) content
• preventing the use of harmful ingredients such as carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins
• requiring that suitable information on the preparation, application, care, storage and disposal of the product is supplied to the public
• ensuring workers and suppliers through the supply chain can expect fair pay, equal opportunity, and a safe working environment
The scope of this standard is applicable to the following types of paints in the product categories:
• Interior architectural paints;
• Exterior architectural paints;
• Other water based coatings; and
• Student and artist paints.
Solvent-based coatings are not eligible for application under this standard.
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