Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

August, 2005

Paint Ingredients

Q. What's in interior latex white paint? What's in exterior white latex paint? I don't need to know every ingredient; I want to know about lead and other toxic heavy metals.

A. All formulations are different. Latex paints manufactured by the same company are different from each other, depending on the performance properties and costs of the coatings. Differences also occur between paint manufacturers; therefore it is not possible for me to tell you the exact ingredients that are to be found in each formulation.

The best approach it to look at the paint vendor's (paint manufacturer's) MSDS. This will contain a listing of all the "hazardous ingredients" as defined by OSHA. If lead, heavy metals of other toxic ingredients are present in the coating in concentrations >1.0% for nontoxic compounds, and >0.1% for toxic compounds, they will appear on the MSDS.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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