Sunday, June 1, 2008

Baby's room: we hit a roadblock

We were all set: Brad had on an old T-shirt and shorts, he'd taped around the baby's room, and covered up the carpet with a tarp. I circled around for the momentous uncracking of the paint lid to see the color we'd picked out for the baby's room. And it looked just like I wanted! And it was eco-friendly, too! (Even though I was going to leave the painting to Brad, when we've painted rooms in the past, traditional paint has made me dizzy and wheezy, so we stopped using it and have used the Sherwin-Williams' Harmony paint, to pleasant results, ever since.)

He started painting the baby's room, and I was delighted. I admired our lovely paint can, and looked at label again before leaving Brad to do the hard work. And then I realized that their "GreenSure" logo was not actually the "Green Seal" logo I had thought it was. And then my morning got a lot more frustrating.

After some googling, I discovered that Sherwin-Williams created its own in-house certification for their GreenSure designation, which they claim meets or exceeds the Green Seal standards for low and no-VOC paint (Harmony says it's a no-VOC paint).

The Green Seal website doesn't list Sherwin-Williams' paint. So how can the paint have met the standards, but not get listed?

Now I'm on a mission to find out what is going on with these "green" certifications before "we" can continue painting. Nuts. Looks like our Sunday is taking a detour.

Afternoon update:
OK, so after some MORE googling, I found this article about eco-friendly paints from Martha Stewart. (Yes, I am putting my trust in Martha Stewart.) About the Sherwin-Williams Harmony paint, it says:

This zero-VOC formula earns Sherwin-Williams' in-house GreenSure seal, which designates paints that meet or exceed Green Seal standards. (They forgo third-party certification.)

The article also says:

Some companies skip certification to save money, so you can also look for VOC levels directly on the can.

And that can says it's got ZERO VOCs on it, so it better be right! (Of course, that's not included any that get added with pigment, but that's true with all paints.)

So, apparently the Harmony paint really doesn't have VOCs in it, which is really what I wanted to know. And apparently they have decided, for whatever reason, to not get the Green Seal certification, maybe to save some money, as the article suggests. I gave Brad the go-ahead to get on with the painting today, so it is commencing now.

I hope it's the right choice. It drives me nuts that I try to make good decisions, and then sometimes it's not even clear what IS a good decision!

And it seems that this is even tougher when it's anything to do with baby-related decisions. If we were just painting our bathroom or something, I wouldn't have really cared about what seal was on the paint can, as long as it said it didn't have the VOCs in it and I've had a good experience with it before. But add in the baby factor, and all of a sudden, I'm freaking out.

I want to make the best choices, especially when it comes to environmental and health matters, but sometimes it is so confusing to know what those are.

So, I am hoping we're doing the right thing. I have a feeling this paint issue is probably just the beginning of a lot of similar dilemmas, which hopefully I will be able to resolve without so much freaking out. And googling.

For future painting projects, though, Ideal Bite has a list of paints that are all Green Seal certified, so there should be no question of what's in them (and hopefully less Internet searching involved!).


Anonymous said...

It's so interesting that you posted this blog entry today, because I was just saying to Randy, I'll have to ask Kate where she got her low-VOC paint! Please keep me updated on what you discover about Sherwin-Williams!--Brooke H.

Rebecca Chastain said...

That's good to know about the paint. I'm sure that you're right about all the future research you'll be doing, but it's all in the name of keeping Jr. healthy and happy, and I'm sure you'll get faster at it as you go (like finding the Ideal Bite site).

I want to see pictures of the room!