Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

October, 2004

Arsenic in Paints

Q. While assessing a building for the presence of lead-based paint, we also found the presence of arsenic at relatively high levels. The building dates to the mid-1940's, and was repeatedly painted between 1945 and 1980. What manner of paint would have been used in the past which would have contained arsenic.

According to a friend of mine who is now well retired but who worked in the paint manufacturing industry in the 1950s and beyond, arsenic was used as a white extender pigment in white paints where whiteness was important.

I have also seen arsenic referenced as an ingredient in anti-fouling paints for ships, but I can't tell you more about this.

Searching the Internet I've found what appears to be an excellent reference that includes a discussion of arsenic, although I have not yet read the details. In fact I'm in the process of printing this 146 page document because it looks like a good reference source. I suggest that you go to where you will find this information.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

What's New | About PCRC | Compliance Assistance | Regulations | Technical Info | News | Homeowners | Search | Disclaimer | Home

©2012 Paints and Coatings Resource Center