Evaluation of low-VOC latex paints

Indoor Air. 1999 Dec;9(4):253-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.1999.00004.x.


Four commercially available low-volatile organic compound (VOC) latex paints were evaluated as substitutes for conventional latex paints by assessing both their emission characteristics and their performance as coatings. Bulk analysis indicated that the VOC contents of all four paints tested were considerably lower than those of conventional latex paints. Low VOC emissions were confirmed by small chamber emission tests. However, significant emissions of several aldehydes, especially formaldehyde which is a hazardous air pollutant, were detected in emissions from two of the four paints. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) methods were used to evaluate the hiding power, scrub resistance, washability, dry to touch and yellowness index. The results indicated that one of the four low-VOC paints tested showed performance equivalent or superior to that of a conventional latex paint used as control. It was concluded that low-VOC latex paint can be a viable option to replace conventional latex paints for prevention of indoor air pollution. However, paints marketed as "low-VOC" may still have significant emissions of some individual VOCs, and some may not have performance characteristics matching those of conventional latex paints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Fixatives / analysis*
  • Formaldehyde / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Paint*
  • Volatilization


  • Fixatives
  • Formaldehyde