[GSBN] Clay paints/sealers for Multiple Chemical Sensitivy

Derek Roff derek at unm.edu
Tue Sep 12 20:17:11 CDT 2017

Hi, Tony,

I agree with Chris, that introducing new fiberglass seems risky for someone with chemical sensitivities.  I’d suggest seeing if there is a way to pin down what she is reacting to.  15-year-old plywood, OSB, and drywall have given up the majority of their gases.  They might still be causing the problem, but might there be another source for the problem?  Ventilation ducts?  Something in the ceiling/roof?  Gases coming up through the soil or floor?

I work with shellac a lot, and it can be a superb sealer.  The big question mark is the solvent.  Denatured alcohol is normally used, and the “denatured” part is the addition of poison to the mix.  Usually methanol is added, but many other toxic and cheap chemicals are frequently part of the formula, and often not fully listed, since they are proprietary and our disclosure laws are very weak.  So-called citrus solvents may or may not be safer.  Unless you can be very sure about the solvents used, I would be nervous about shellac products.  Clay paints from a reputable company seem like a safer way to go.


Derek Roff
derek at unm.edu<mailto:derek at unm.edu>

On Sep 12, 2017, at 5:12 PM, Chris Magwood <chris at endeavourcentre.org<mailto:chris at endeavourcentre.org>> wrote:

Hi Tony,

If she is chemically sensitive, I wouldn't recommend using fiberglass.

AFM Safecoat makes a sealant for holding back VOCs from materials like plywood: http://www.afmsafecoat.com/products/stains-sealers/safecoat-safe-seal. We've used it for chemically sensitive clients where we can't get rid of the material and it seems to work well.

I haven't put clay paint directly over the AFM sealant before, but the companies we use for clay or lime paints (Kreidezeit and Auro) make primers that are full disclosure ingredients and would allow their paints to be used.


On 2017-09-12 5:43 PM, Anthony Novelli wrote:
Greetings old friends,

I am probably ignoring list etiquette by not sifting through the archives, but I have a workmate who is rapidly trying to remodel a space for his daughter who is chemically sensitive and reacting to her current living space. He was directed toward clay paints, though since part of the space is enclosed with 10-15 year old OSB and plywood, I suggested he might also consider sealing that and the 5/8'" drywall with fiberglass inside before covering it.

We are within driving range of retailers like Organic Grace in Garberville where both paints and sealers are available, though budget is a concern. Simple clay paint recipes might be useful.

Also he mentioned something I think he was told at a Kelly Moore shop where they have an alcohol-based sealer like a shellac that off-gasses heavily for a very short period of time, but is then safe.

Any input?
Thanks in advance, and hi, howdy and hugs all round.

Tony Novelli

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Chris Magwood
Director, Endeavour Centre

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