Great "Green" Paints

For the first time ever, paints that are better for the environment have earned top ratings in Consumer Reports' tests. These paints have very low levels of volatile organic compounds or VOC's-substances that contribute to ozone, smog, and respiratory problems.

Rico De Paz of Consumer Reports says, "When we tested low VOC paints in the past, we found they didn't do very good, particularly at covering the darker colors."

Consumer Reports' latest tests of more than 50 paints still find problems with some paints that claim zero VOC's.

For example-The Freshaire Choice from Home Depot.

Rico de Paz says, "You can see all the stripes with one coat. And even with two coats, you can see a lot of the stripes."

But some paints, do a much better job-covering better with one coat than some do with two.

One paint has only 50 grams of VOC's per liter, which meets the strictest regulations in the country.

It's from Home Depot-Behr Premium Plus Ultra. It earned top ratings in all three finishes-flat, satin, and semigloss.

But that paint did not perform well in the fading test, so it may not be the best choice for a sunny room.

A better choice is Valspar Signature Colors, sold at Lowe's. While it didn't earn as high an overall score, it did well in the fade test and it also has just 50 grams of VOC's.

Consumer Reports says one thing to keep in mind-the amount of VOC's in paint refers to untinted paint. Adding tints increases the levels of VOC's.

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