Shoptalk with Amiel Mesner
At Arteriors we are always on the look out for new environmentally friendly ways to create our work. We have recently been introduced to a new product called Bioshield. Amiel describes it as, “An all-natural paint product that you could almost eat!”
Bioshield’s goal is “to create products derived from natural and easily-renewable resources without harmful chemicals, toxins and additives”. This means that their products have zero V.O.C.’s.
What are V.O.C.’s?
They are poisonous gases, emitted from many standard house paints and paint products. As the paint dries the solid materials stay on the wall and the liquids evaporate into the air, which can contain toxins (volatile organic compounds).
“30 years ago, when I started in this industry, oil paint was the main player in the field”, says Amiel. Oil paint is loaded with V.O.C.’s mainly because of all the paint thinner and added chemicals, which will eventually evaporate into the air.
Amiel witnessed, “The whole water-born paint revolution grew out of the developing science behind the dangers of V.O.C. emissions.” Because water is the main dilution material in acrylic/water-based paints, water is what is evaporated into the air and not toxic gasses. Low V.O.C. content gives acrylic and water-based paint a big environmental advantage. When one is in the room with it, whether it is wet paint or dry, you breathe a lot less volatile organic compounds.
The strong arm of this low V.O.C. revolution was first established in California dating back as far as 1955 when the Federal Air Pollution Control Act was enacted. This major piece of legislation provided for research and technical assistance and authorized the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to work towards a better understanding of the causes and effects of air pollution. This research continued to gain popularity throughout the United States and was eventually incorporated into the Federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970. These amendments became the prime authority for the control of air pollution and established the foundation for the U.S. program for controlling air pollution.
Amiel recalls, “With these new regulations, most oil paint did not pass while acrylic and water based paint passed easily. Many companies tried to get away with selling the oil paint by making the paint more of a solid and removing much of the toxic liquid diluter in it that would eventually be evaporated.” This allowed for the paint on the shelves to pass, but the only way to use that paint was to thin it with harsh chemical paint thinner, returning us full circle to the original problem of the high V.O.C. emissions. To further pass the buck, the person who is liable for this violation by law would be the painter.
Mr. Mesner states firmly, “Arteriors is an advocate for water born paint and paint products. The field is constantly improving because all the science is going into this less toxic material and not into the oil. Every year they are making it safer for us to use and for the environment. However, the water pollution from paint still remains a problem.”
Returning to the product Bioshield, Amiel says, “By replacing acrylic as the base and the pigments with all natural materials they are eliminating all of the toxins, not just the V.O.C.’S. Going this extra step, they have made it safer for the water as well as for the air. And they also make it safer for the painter who handles it”.
“We started using acrylic water based paint around 30 years ago when there was zero information in the market about how to use it for specialty finishes,” says Mesner. Though it was difficult for Arteriors to have to create techniques with water-based paint from scratch, we can now say we have become pioneers in the field and that our work is beautiful inside and out.