Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

March, 2003

Is there lead in automotive paints?

Q. I was wondering if Automobile paint typically contains lead? I just had my car fixed. They had to remove the back window to do this, and on receiving the car after, I noticed everything in the car had a thin white layer of dust, I'm assuming from the white paint that was sanded. I am concerned because I have two small children, and am concerned about their exposure to lead.

A. I don't believe you have any reason for concern. Most modern paints do not contain lead, and certainly not those used in the consumer market.

In all probability the white dust you saw was from the white paint. In any case, white paints do not contain lead.

If you still have further concerns, you can ask the automotive shop where you had the car repainted to tell you whose paint he used and the name of the product. Then you can go onto the paint manufacturer's website and search for the Material Safety Data Sheet, (MSDS) for those products. If there is ANY lead in a paint it will be listed on the MSDS.

Alternatively, the paint store from which the body shop purchased the paint is obligated to have MSDS on file. Therefore, you can get them directly from the supply store.

If you don't know how to read an MSDS then you can fax the MSDS to me and I'll look at for you.

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