More evidence that the economic impact of marijuana goes far beyond the sale of cannabis products: A Denver-metro company is now marketing a brand of paint specifically designed to cover up the smell of pot smoke.
The label wrapped around cans of OdorDefender Paint, created by ECOBOND, a company based in Arvada, sports a green-suited cartoon superhero and text that boasts that the product offers "DEFENSE AGAINST ... Marijuana & Odor-producing Drug Fumes."
According to Eric Heronema, product manager for ECOBOND (a spin-off of another local company, Metal Treatment Technologies), "We don't make typical paint products. We make specialty paint products that are designed to help the environment."
As part of this mission, Heronema continues, "we've been doing research on not only secondhand smoke, but thirdhand smoke" — meaning residue from smoke that can remain on walls and other surfaces for long periods of time. "There have been studies that show thirdhand smoke can be every bit as dangerous as smoking or secondhand smoke. It can re-emit to the air from the floor, from carpeting and from walls."
With that in mind, he says, "we realized that since we're kind of considered the capital of marijuana, what better place to develop a paint to address this problem than here?"
OdorDefender isn't meant to mask only the smell of marijuana. Heronema groups cannabis with tobacco smoke and fire, and points out that the product is also intended to protect against "pet odors, which I'm defining as cat urine, and other indoor pet pollutants."
Still, marijuana smells are front and center, as seen in this OdorDefender video:
The paint is being promoted to regular homeowners and folks who manage commercial properties.
"Imagine you're a landlord and you have an apartment complex," Heronema notes. "You had a tenant who smoked marijuana for six months to a year. Then the tenant leaves, and the landlord says, 'How am I going to rent this? It still smells like marijuana.' And the answer is our paint, which will go down over the walls and seal and block those odors from re-emitting into the air."
Among the ingredients that make OdorDefender better at tackling pot smoke and other unpleasant aromas than typical paint, Heronema says, is alginate from seaweed, which he dubs "nature's best absorbent."
To test OdorDefender's efficacy, the ECOBOND crew did a marijuana test, "but nobody actually smoked any of it," Heronema stresses. "We put marijuana in an empty fish tank that was covered and put drywall in there and lit the marijuana and saturated it with smoke. And we did the same thing with pipe tobacco. We put the tobacco in a barrel, lit it on fire and created smoke that completely enveloped the drywall."
Afterward, Heronoma continues, "we tested four products on the marijuana smoke, the tobacco smoke and a pet-urine application. At first we tested an industrial brand, which really failed, and we threw that out. So then we tested a commercial brand, the leading big-box brand, high-quality latex and OdorDefender."
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The stench was "intense," Heronema emphasizes. "We had eleven people do the test, and there was a room between the room where we had the drywall —- but two people could smell the test room before we'd even gone through the door."
Afterward, the ECOBOND team painted the infused drywall with the four different products. After seven days of curing, Heronema says the test subjects didn't smell either marijuana or tobacco smoke from the drywall painted with OdorDefender, whether one or two coats were used — a better performance than any of the other products. For instance, he maintains that test subjects could faintly smell marijuana after two coats of latex and got a strong scent from drywall with one coat.
Right now, ECOBOND is in the early stages of marketing OdorDefender. "I've reached out to a few restoration companies, and every single one I made contact with was very interested," Heronema allows. "They were like, 'Send me a sample,' because obviously they want to test it first to make sure the product works. And then, once the product is better known, we'll move forward with getting into stores and other facilities. But it can already be ordered online."
Heronema expects that demand for the paint will be strong. "I think smokers and non-smokers understand the dangers and hazards of smoke in general, and they don't want themselves or their children to deal with it, whether it be from cigarettes or a fire — or whether it's from marijuana."