3928699275 5a2c89dd61 m If you stuck to low or no-VOC paints when sprucing up your eco-friendly home, here’s your chance to take your environmental activism beyond the house. California’s looking into reducing VOCs from consumer and industrial multipurpose solvents and paint thinners — and you can add your voice to support this regulatory measure.

First, about VOCs — or volatile organic compounds. As most MNN readers know, VOCs are found in paints, solvents and all sorts of products — that create smog-forming emissions and cause a whole host of health problems, such as:
Eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.
That scary list of health effects comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency! That’s why California Air Resources Board (CARB) will look into regulating both VOCs, as well as 3 other other harmful chemicals — perchloroethylene, methylene chloride and trichloroethylene — in solvents and thinners.

CARB takes up this issue on Thurs., Sept. 24 — which is why the environmental nonprofit Coalition for Clean Air is urging people to send CARB comments by noon on Wed., Sept. 23. Visit CCA’s site to learn more about the VOC issue — and to send a letter to Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board.

Photo by ammanteufel

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