Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

January, 2003

Lead in Paint

Q. Do any paint manufactures still use lead in paint manufacturing. My co-worker stated that she read that paint manufactures still use 0.05 % lead in paint and I had never read that. I work for the East Helena Lead Education and Abatement Program and we deal with remediation of lead based paint in residences that have had their yards remediated. East Helena had a lead smelter operating in its town for 100 years, so anything to do with lead is high priority.

A. It is possible that traces of lead, such as the 0.05% you mentioned in your email are still present in modern paints, but I think that those values are below the de minimus level for reporting on an MSDS.

Prior to the 1980s several of the red, yellow, orange colors and their derivatives contained up to 16% by weight lead. Also, lead dryers have been used, and still might be used in some paints. Hence 0.05% is probably considered to be a trace.

If you would like to research this for yourself, you can go to some of the websites that give you access to MSDSs. Check on paints made by Sherwin-Williams, Kelly Moore, and the other consumer brand names.

I hope this helps.

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