To take advantage of the public's enthusiasm for "green" building materials, a lot of products are labeled green even though they are questionable when it comes to environmental friendliness.
A good rule of thumb is to look for products made from natural, renewable materials as well as products with recycled content.
Low-VOC paint: VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, referring to organic chemicals such as formaldehyde, which can "outgas" into the air. VOCs are what give oil-based smell their unpleasant smell. Low-VOC paints have a smaller ratio of these organic compounds.
Zero VOC paint: Some paints do away with all VOCs. They can be expensive but may be the best choice for people with high sensitivity to VOCs.
Natural paint: Natural or organic paints use only natural earth materials and are biodegradable. A real natural paint is entirely free of petrochemicals, which are present even in most zero-VOC latex paints.
Non-toxic stains and sealers: These products are made without VOCs and combustible materials.