BEHR Paint: Pushing the Paint Industry Forward

BEHR Paint / 4 min read

The Home Depot’s sustainability goals drive our progress and, in turn, benefit our customers, communities, associates and partners. These goals are often not ours alone to meet, they require the engagement of other companies to drive change. When we established a goal to reduce suspect chemicals in paint, we knew it would require paint manufacturers to invest significantly in research and development. For BEHR® paint, it was an effort already underway.

For years, BEHR paint has been pushing the paint industry forward. BEHR products offer durability, sustainably sound manufacturing methods and improved formulations — providing consumers with the dependability and functionalities they are seeking without sacrificing the environmental impact, all while beautifying spaces for years to come.


By definition, paint is a protective coating and designed to protect and preserve surfaces. As such, the chemists at BEHR have always sought to balance performance with more responsible chemistry. Over the years, the chemical formulations of BEHR paints have continuously improved, beginning with emulsification technology in the 1970s that removed solvents from paint and guided the current formulations, the majority of which are water-based.

Paint has come a long way since the days when lead compounds were a common component. The folks at BEHR are happy to report that none of their formulations have ever contained lead, even though the company pre-dates the EPA ban on lead-containing paint in consumer settings by 30 years. This progressive chemistry is part of the culture at BEHR, where continuous improvement is a shared value.

Today, when most people think of household hazards associated with paint, they think of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which can have an impact on indoor air quality. VOCs exist in paint where certain chemicals were used in the formulation. Oil-based paints are one example where the oils contribute to VOCs. But, as paint formulations have evolved and today are largely water-based, VOCs have dropped.

For BEHR, the process of reducing VOCs began over 40 years ago when the company shifted towards emulsification and began orienting its products towards water-based formulas. Today, more than 90% of BEHR coatings are water-based, with several products earning the GREENGUARD® and GREENGUARD® GOLD certifications for passing rigorous emissions standards.

To get a sense for the ways in which BEHR paint continues to push the paint industry forward, check out the timeline below.

  • 1970-1980s  
    BEHR paints embrace emulsification technology, opening the door to water-based formulations.
  • 2010
    Many BEHR paint products contain less than 50 grams per liter of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), meeting the environmental regulations of even the most stringent localities of the U.S.
  • 2011-2012
    BEHR transitions to all low-VOC waterborne colorants for point-of-sale tinting of its paints.
  • 2012
    BEHR converts the PREMIUM PLUS® product line to a zero-VOC formula.**
  • 2013
    The BEHR PRO® i300 Interior Paint contractor product line is introduced as a zero-VOC formula.**
  • 2014 
    BEHR introduces the MARQUEE line, a GREENGUARD GOLD-certified product, guaranteed to provide one-coat hide* in more than 1,000 colors.
  • 2019
    BEHR eliminates the use of a class of surfactants known as ethoxylated phenols and replaces them with better alternatives, as well as eliminates ethylene glycol from many of its formulations; BEHR continues to innovate to bring further improvements to future formulations.
  • 2020
    BEHR eliminates zinc pyrithione, a biocide/mildewcide, and replaces it with a better alternative.

Alongside efforts to make paint safer for consumers, the timeline demonstrates BEHR’s commitment to improve performance. It’s a balancing act that requires scientific skill and dedication. After all, consumers want not only safer paint, but also better paint, paint that provides better coverage, more consistent color and less separation. BEHR paint has sought and successfully advanced their products’ durability, efficiency and protective qualities.

They have also sought to minimize waste, recycling water throughout the manufacturing process and using recycled materials in their packaging. BEHR paint cans are made from 100% recycled plastic of post-consumer material collected from bottle caps, yogurt cups, plastic takeout containers and more. After the paint is applied and the can is empty, the container is 100% recyclable.

*Valid only when tinted to colors from the MARQUEE® Interior One-Coat Hide Color Collection

 **This product, like most zero-VOC paints, emits very low amounts of VOCs.