Environmental impact of paint
The environmental impact of paint is diverse. Traditional painting materials and processes can have harmful effects on the environment, including those from the use of lead and other additives. Measures can be taken to reduce environmental impact, including accurately estimating paint quantities so that wastage is minimized, use of paints, coatings, painting accessories and techniques that are environmentally preferred.
Low-VOC and other environmentally preferred paints 
Volatile organic compounds are gases emitted by various solids or liquids, many of which have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Solvents in traditional paints often contain high quantities of VOCs. Paints that are low in VOCs improve indoor air quality and reduce urban smog. The beneficial characteristics of such paints include: low odor, clean air formula, safer technology, as well as excellent durability, and a washable finish.
The labels of paint cans can be checked for the following information:
- To be considered Low-VOC, the paint should consist of <50 grams per liter (g/l) of VOC.
- To be considered Zero-VOC, the paint should consist of <5 g/l of VOC.
- Solid content usually ranges from 25-45%, higher solid percentages ensures less VOC's.
In the US, items containing toxic ingredients will have registration numbers with either the:
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- United States Department of Transportation (DOT)
Anti-fouling paint 
Anti-fouling paint (or bottom paint) is used to protect the hulls of boats from fouling by marine organisms. Anti-fouling paint protects the surface from corrosion and prevents drag on the ship from any build up of marine organisms. These paints have contained organotin compounds such as tributyltin (TBT) compounds which are considered to be toxic chemicals which have negative effects on humans and the environment. Tributyltin compounds are moderately to highly persistent organic pollutants that bioconcentrate up the marine predators' food chain. One common example is leaching of TBT from marine paints into the aquatic environment, causing irreversible damage to the aquatic life. Tributyltin has also been linked to obesity in humans, as it triggers genes that cause the growth of fat cells.
TBT is harmful to some marine organisms, including the dog whelk. TBT causes dog whelks to suffer from imposex: females develop male sexual characteristics such as a penis. This causes them to become infertile or even die. In severe cases males can develop egg sacs.
Heavy metals 
Lead paint is paint containing lead as pigment. Lead is also added to paint to speed drying, increase durability, retain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion. Paint with significant lead content is still used in industry and by the military. For example, leaded paint is sometimes used to paint roadways and parking lot lines. Lead is a poisonous metal that can damage nervous connections (especially in young children) and cause blood and brain disorders. Because of its low reactivity and solubility, lead poisoning usually only occurs in cases when the lead is dispersed, like when sanding lead based paint prior to repainting.
Primer paint containing hexavalent chromium is still widely used for aerospace and automobile refinishing applications. Zinc chromate has been used as a pigment for artists paint, known as Zinc Yellow or Yellow 36. It is highly toxic and now rarely used.
As a response to the environmental and health concerns some paint manufacturers now offer environmentally friendly alternatives. Also, in some countries paint recycling is carried out on surplus paints and resold.
Products like ECOBOND LBP are available to treat lead. Ecobond can chemically change lead to make it less leechable and therefore easier on the environment.
See also 
- List of environmental issues
- Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom
- Lead-based paint in the United States
- Seattle Public Utilities Sustainable Building Program Pages:4
- [Loux, Renee(2008), Easy Green Living The ultimate guide to simple, eco-friendly choices for you and your home. Pages:311]
- Secretariat for the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (26 November 2006). "Draft Decision Guidance Document for Tributyltin Compounds". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
- Staff (2008-12-03). "Persistent Pollutant May Promote Obesity". Science daily. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- Dan Minchin, Eberhard Stroben, Jörg Oehlmann, Barbara Bauer, Colm B. Duggan and Michael Keatinge (1996). "Biological indicators used to map organotin contamination in Cork Harbour, Ireland". Marine Pollution Bulletin 32 (2): 188. doi:10.1016/0025-326X(95)00120-C.