Janna Hafer


Urban Frontier House

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04/24/16 - Paint comes in sooooooooooooooo many colors that it is not always easy to pick one or two or even several colors to paint the interior walls in a new house. But let me tell you what is even HARDER to do: find a paint that does not contain alkylphenols. Alkylphenol is one of the ingredients included on the Red List. So, what the heck are alkylphenols???

Here is a little chemistry lesson from the APE (Alkylphenol Ethoxylates) Research Council: “Alkylphenols (APs) are chemical intermediates that are reacted with other compounds to create derivative products, which are then used to make high-value, high-performance compounds that are used in a variety of applications. The two most commercially relevant alkylphenols are nonylphenol (NP), which has a 9-carbon alkyl group, and para-tert-octylphenol (ptOP), which has an 8-carbon alkyl group.”

So, what the heck does that mean???

Alkylphenols are used in a wide variety of products including detergents, cleaning products, pesticides, lubricants, hair products and as wetting agents, emulsifiers, and dispersants in paint.

So, is that necessarily a bad thing???

There appears to be a controversy as to whether alkylphenols pose a health risk or not. According to Wikipedia, “The European Union has implemented sales and use restrictions on certain applications in which nonylphenols are used because of their alleged “toxicity, persistence, and the liability to bioaccumulate” but the United States EPA has taken a slower approach to make sure that action is based on “sound science”.” Toxic means harmful to living organisms; persistent in this case means they do not readily biodegrade into simpler, less harmful compounds; and bioaccumulate means that once they enter a living organism they tend to accumulate in its tissues. None of those sound like a good thing so perhaps it makes sense to avoid exposure to alkylphenols just in case. Fortunately, there is a paint company in South Carolina, Ecos Paints, that ships any paint order of any color or size for $9.95 and it doesn’t contain any alkylphenols. The paint is not necessarily inexpensive but it is very good paint and has no odor (at all!); in fact, our painter commented how nice it was. My job description also includes painting. I have spent many a weekend sponging and rubbing paint on our walls to create a “faux” painted look. I am quite impressed with the result if I do say so myself!
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