Each and every day, it seems that we learn one more thing that's bad for us. Red meat, saturated fat, and tobacco, for instance, have all come out as hazards to our health. Recently, paint had jumped on this band wagon, or, shall we say, bad wagon. Despite the general population being highly unaware, paint - and not just lead paint - can be toxic to our health. Just being exposed to it can expose a person to all sorts of harms.


As many recent press features have discusses, lead-based paint is highly harmful. Lead paint can lead to exposure to lead, and exposure that can cause seizures, coma, and, in severe cases, death. Brain disorders, central nervous system problems, blood cell discrepancies, and kidney failure can also all be linked to lead. When young children, or a fetus, is exposed to high amounts of lead, the health consequences are at their most severe.


But, lead-based paint is not the only dangerous paint on the walls of our houses, our schools, our tree houses, and our workplaces. Paint containing VOC's, or Volatile Organic Compounds, are also dangerous. Oil based paint contains the highest amount, though latex paint contains VOC's as well.


Part of their danger lies in the fact that VOC's are widespread: many of the paint brands purchased by consumers for home paint jobs contain VOC's. These compounds can be - that's right - volatile to your well being.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paints that have a high amount of VOC's can cause memory loss, an increase in asthma symptoms, dizziness, visual problems, headaches, eye irritation, liver problems, and respiratory problems. Being exposed over a long period of time can also lead to cancer.


Rooms that contain fresh coats of paint are the most dangerous. To put it this way, walking into a freshly painted room is like walking into a garage full of exhaust. In short, both rooms are filled with pollution. There may also be a link between freshly painted rooms and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.


Paints containing VOCs may continue to be toxic for years after the initial paint application. As these toxics are released into the air, they eventually enter your lungs, and your body. Being exposed to a large number of VOCs over an extended amount of time increases your chances of compromised health.


With lead based paint shunned by our society, VOCs now find themselves in the spotlight. With recent evidence of their dangers, however, VOC paint is quickly being substituted for paint that contains low-VOC numbers or even no VOC-numbers. These paints are the most nontoxic on the market and efficient and effective. They are also not costly, especially when it comes to health.