Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

April, 2004

Paints and hospital operating rooms and FDA approvals

Q. Could you give me some essential information about the FDA regulations concerning paints for operating rooms in hospitals?

Sincerely, Avi Moscovich

A. The requirements for painting the walls of a hospital operating room are that the coating must be either a semi gloss or full gloss coating that will withstand continuous cleaning and washing with water solutions that contain strong disinfectants without damaging the painted surface. Typically, epoxy and polyurethane coatings are used because they do withstand washing with hot water or water containing detergents. Conventional alkyd enamels might also do the trick, but they are not as durable as epoxy or polyurethanes. You will also want to insure that the coating you specify is non-yellowing. Although the yellowing doesn't affect its ability to be cleaned, you will probably want the coating to retain its whiteness for a long time.

Flat wall paints may retain soils and dirt on the surface and are not recommended for the coating of choice. Also, there may be local requirements to consider. You will probably not find these coatings in a hardware store, but a national brand paint store, such as Sherwin-Williams, PPG, DuPont, etc., may be a good source for specialized information on the subject.

I am not aware that FDA has regulations on these coatings, but I do not wish to imply that such regulations do not exist.

Best regards,

Tom Burke

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