Paints and environmental concerns
There is concern about the embodied energy of paints and their waste disposal requirements, use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and toxicity. Lead is an example of a toxic pigment, and the concern surrounding its use relates to the possibility of it being ingested. In consequence, lead-based paint is nowadays usually not permitted. However, its main substitute, titanium oxide, has a high embodied energy. Synthetic solvents, such as white spirit, emit VOCs. The response has been to promote natural paints and “ecopaints.” The former are made from natural materials while ecopaints are synthetic. VOCs may be reduced by the use of solid coatings and by the elimination of organic solvents.