Vegetable Oil in Paint is Nothing New

I was just looking at the February issue of

Environmental Building News (

Vol. 12, No. 2) and couldn’t help but notice the article about paints made from vegetable oil (“American Pride – Paint Made from Vegetable Oil”). I have to say that someone appears to have pulled the wool over someone’s eyes. Making paints from vegetable products is not a new thing. Oil-based paints have been made with linseed oil (from the flax plant) and turpentine (from long-leaf pine trees) for several hundred years. Soya-alkyd paints (made from soybeans) have been around for at least 50 years. The VOC numbers, however, are very good.

In talking about the scrubbability, you should consider a comparison with the Master Painters Institute (MPI) standards rather than Green Seal. MPI requires 2,000 scrub cycles for an interior satin latex and 1,500 for an interior low-sheen latex, with not more than 25% change in gloss (which is quite different from failure).

Eugene A. (Buz) Groshong, Jr., CCS


Alexandria, Virginia

Editor’s response:

Thank you for the comments. You’re right—plant-based oils are nothing new in paint. What is unique about American Pride is the fact that they are using plant-derived hydrocarbons to make a

latex paint. This paint is not entirely free of petrochemicals (the company won’t say exactly how much of the product is vegetable-based due to concerns about losing their competitive advantage), but it is largely plant-based, with the benefits of almost no VOCs and soap-and-water cleanup.

Regarding the scrub tests, we agree that we should have used the MPI standards as a benchmark. Had we done so, we would have seen that the eggshell finish paint exceeds MPI’s standard, but the flat paint falls short.

Published April 1, 2003

(2003, April 1). Vegetable Oil in Paint is Nothing New. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/editorial/vegetable-oil-paint-nothing-new

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