The relative toxicities of paints and finishes (varnishes, etc.) are identified as VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds. The higher the VOC rating, the more toxic the material is, especially during the drying phase (during off-gassing). The VOC rating for each product is printed on the paint's label or stamped directly on the paint can, and a true no-VOC paint will identify the VOC rating as "zero".
Thanks to new technologies, there are new, non-toxic (or low-toxicity) paints for residential and commercial painting, which do not compromise quality or color choices. Benjamin Moore has strived to be a leader in this field, and listed below are several alternatives from their line of green primers and paints.
Primers and Paints
INTERIOR - Benjamin Moore's Ultra Spec 500 is a no-VOC interior wall primer and finish paint used for interior painting and new construction. Ultra Spec 500 has a complete line of non-toxic, low odor indoor paints and finishes. Most colors in the Benjamin Moore line are available in this product in flat, eggshell and gloss finishes; Ultra Spec 500 is a great value for a no-VOC interior line of professional paint.
INTERIOR - Benjamin Moore's Natura line of interior flat, eggshell and semi-gloss paint. Natura is a no-VOC (fully non-toxic) line of quality interior wall and trim finishes.
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR PRIMER - Benjamin Moore's Aura line of interior and exterior finishes are a high-quality, low-VOC alternative. Aura offers the widest selection of colors in a high-quality paint product; the exterior Aura line also allows painting in colder weather (35 degrees or above).
EXTERIOR PRIMER - At this time, there is not a non-toxic Benjamin Moore product available for exterior stucco or wood priming. Nevertheless, Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start Acrylic Primer is considered to be a superior low-VOC exterior primer, suitable for priming under all exterior paints.