Responsible Purchasing Network

Paint: Definitions

This glossary includes key terms from the Guide and may be used as a companion to the text.


Architectural paint
coatings intended for, but not restricted to, on-site application to interior and exterior surfaces of residential, commercial, institutional or industrial buildings
basic information gathered before a program begins that is used later to provide a comparison for assessing program impact
process whereby harmful substances concentrate or magnify as they move up the food chain
products composed in whole or in significant part of biological products, forestry materials, or renewable domestic agricultural materials, including plant, animal, or marine materials, generally safer for the environment than petroleum-based counterparts, and usually biodegradable or recyclable
multi-attribute environmental certification managed by the Government of Canada
Environmentally preferable
products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose
Hazardous substance
1. material posing a threat to human health and/or the environment, that can be toxic, corrosive, ignitable, explosive, or chemically reactive 2. substance that must be reported to the EPA if released into the environment
Hexavalent chromium
positive-6 valence chromium, considered a potential occupational carcinogen
Industrial paint
surface coatings including but not limited to, special purpose, factory-applied, automotive, marine, and traffic marking paint
Natural paint
paints made from non-toxic and non-petroleum-derived ingredients like soy, milk, and silicate
air pollution formed when sunlight reacts with oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons
Toxic substance
a chemical or mixture that may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment
Volatile organic compound (VOC)
organic compound that typically vaporizes at room temperature and participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions

Creative Commons License This work by the Responsible Purchasing Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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