10 May 2016

There are still paint manufacturers who continue to use lead pigments in local paint and related products, due to the fact that lead pigments are cheaper than alternatives. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, according to the World Health Organisation. Children absorb four to five times as much ingested lead as adults from a given source. Globally, consumers are being made aware of these harmful dangers by organisations such as SAPMA, who apply pressure on suppliers to make products safer and more environmentally friendly.

However, it should be understood that lead is a common element and is widely spread in nature and under normal circumstances the body excretes it and so levels do not increase and the body can cope with a small amount. If the intake however, is excessive, it will accumulate over a period of time, with side effects. Having said this, the physiological differences in children means that the same amount of lead to an adult can have different effects on them and it also appears that metabolic differences means that the effects upon children are exacerbated especially in the forming brain. The greater possibility of children putting strange things in their mouths also adds to the problem.

Cheaper paints and paint-related products may contain harmful chemicals such as solvents and metals. These products give off VOCs [volatile organic compounds] that include a variety of chemicals, and it is these chemicals that can lead to indoor air quality problems and also pose serious health risks. In individuals who are exposed to high levels of VOCs for long periods of time, like professional painters, may suffer damage to their liver, kidneys and nervous system. Today, more and more consumers are aware of lead in paints and are making educated choices when it comes to safer, environmentally friendly products.


Prominent Paints offers ecological solutions

Prominent Paints incorporates the use of Ecological Solutions and undertakes to offer and develop products that constantly raise and exceed the standard in this regard.. This refers to products whose manufacturing, purchase and use reduce the environmental impacts compared to other paint and paint-related products. Prominent Paints is recognised as being committed to manufacturing and marketing paint products that are 100% lead free, adhere to international best practices and recognise and promote the drive towards environmental sustainability. In other words, supplying products that are kinder by design, kinder to the environment and kinder to your health.

In the Prominent Paints product range, their Ecological Solutions offers numerous green benefits; from high opacity levels that result in less paint required, to durability so that surfaces need to be recoated less often. High spread rates offered by our products also mean that less paint is required to cover a surface.

Prominent Paints make use of water-based colourants, unique in the South African market, that further ensure that, even after tinting, products remain low in VOCs without compromising on the colour fastness or quality.

Evolve is a new generation of environmentally friendly paint manufactured locally from mostly natural organic raw materials. It offers a unique set of 'green' benefits and is not only perfect for a safer environment, but is kinder to you and your family too. The Evolve range is exclusive to Builders Express and Builders Warehouse stores countrywide.

If you need tips of removing lead paints from your home, you will find this article on Family Handyman very informative, and SAPMA offers the following practical advice:

 If you live in a building which is more than 30 to 40 years old then the woodwork might have a lead primer or if the finished colour and is bright yellow, orange, red or green then there could be lead present. So if it is – let sleeping dogs lie. The general rule is as always 'never remove paint in good condition' – clean it and rub it down with fine sandpaper then paint over it. If it is flaking and in bad condition or is so heavy as to stop windows or doors from closing then it will need to be removed. If you have reason to suspect that lead may be present extra care must be taken.

Abrading or heavy sanding of the paint will produce dust and, lead or no lead it, would be unwise to breathe this dust and so a dust mask should be used. It is also advisable to avoid skin contact and cover the hair.

The alternatives to this are the use of paint removers or heat guns. Both of these present problems and care must be taken to use paint removers from reliable manufacturers with proper guidelines on the labels. In the case of the use of heat guns again precautions are needed. Heat should soften and blister the paint making it easy to scrape off and fumes can be produced if over heated. Only sufficient heat should be used to loosen the paint – try to avoid burning the paint. It is wise to use a respirator and cover up and have a fire extinguisher handy. Once cool and safe put scrapings into a plastic bag for disposal.

Adapted from original articles on DIY Trade News and SAPMA website.




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