Sherwin-Williams, PPG Agree To Stop Lying To Consumers About ‘Zero VOC’ Paints

Not quite true…

Many interior paints contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the form of solvents, some of which can be harmful to your health. So when a container of Dutch Boy Refresh paint proudly declares “Zero VOC,” one might reasonably think “Yay, no volatile organic compounds for me.” Well… maybe so, maybe not.

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged Sherwin-Williams, makers of Dutch Boy, and PPG, the folks behind Pure Performance paint, of making false claims on their products with regard to possible VOC content.

See, while the base white paint in that container of Dutch Boy Refresh might lack VOCs, that changes the second you add just about any tinting to get the desired color.

“The vast majority of Dutch Boy-formulated colors of paint are not zero VOC after tinting Dutch Boy Refresh base paints with respondent’s colorants,” claimed the FTC in its complaint.

Meanwhile, PPG was running ads with boasts like “Did you know it’s possible to paint your room today and occupy it tonight – with no unpleasant or lingering odors?” and calling Pure Performance “THE environmentally preferred paint – with very low odor and ZERO VOCs.”

The ad then goes on to say that this is why schools and healthcare facilities use the paint, and that is in nearly 2,000 colors, “not just the handful of colors offered by some other environmental paints.”

“In truth and in fact, in numerous instances, Pure Performance paints do not contain zero VOCs after color is added,” alleged the FTC.

To settle these claims by the agency, both paint companies are prohibited from claiming their paints contain “zero VOCs,” unless, after tinting, they have a VOC level of zero grams per liter.

The companies can continue claiming “zero VOC” if they “clearly and prominently disclose” that the “zero VOC” statement applies only to the base paint, and that depending on the consumer’s color choice, the VOC level may rise.