Green Acrylics?

Acrylic paints often contain small percentages of formaldehyde or ammonia as preservatives. These can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, especially if they are using large amounts of polymer medium or gel. Such artists may benefit from the use of gloves and a ventilation system in the studio. However, another issue should be considered when choosing acrylics for use in art.
For some time, the EPA has been concerned with the number of toxins produced in the overall manufacture of acrylic polymers. Roughly 36 billion pounds of toxic solvents are used each year in the production of acrylics. Much of this is used in the manufacture of textiles, but toxic solvents are also used in the production of paints. To address the problem, the EPA has funded a "green initiative" in hopes of finding less toxic ways of making acrylics. For a summary of the issue, visit: For an intro to acrylic polymers, visit:
Keep in mind the pigment issue as well. Cadmium is carcinogenic. It doesn't matter if it is in acrylic paint or oil paint.