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Food for thought:

WILL THE PANDEMIC TEACH SOUTH AFRICANS THE BASIC LAWS OF BUSINESS?

It is amazing how a crisis focusses the mind on issues past and present. Covid-19 has brought into perspective some of the most fundamental truths and, hopefully, appreciation of the essential and basic objectives of a business enterprise:  

·         To make profits.

·         To safeguard some of the profits to create reserves.

I have heard many comments on business and profits, ranging from the basic “the reason managers have briefcases is for taking money home”, to sublime statements by Government officials that “businessmen are more interested in profits than the lives of people”.

A popular theme followed by many trade union members is that the annual profit of a company should be divided equally among all the employees. Arguments regarding the profits being kept in reserve for future Capital Expenditure for expansion, equipment breakdowns, or funding wages during unforeseen crises such as pandemic lockdowns, fall on deaf ears. Counter-arguments, asking that if profits were indeed to be shared among the labour force annually, would the workers then dig into their windfall earnings to contribute to deal with the above-mentioned crises conditions? This kind of question falls on even deafer ears.

 Money, Capital, retained earnings, business strategy and know-how do not grow on trees, and must be earned to sustain profitable and growing businesses. Businesses that make profit and employ workers and - most importantly - pay tax to keep the fiscus ticking over.

The fiscus is a Latin term which means “the basket” or “moneybag.” In Roman law, “fiscus” meant the emperor's treasury. Later, the term also included treasury of the state. This is the very same fiscus that pays millions of social grants, child allowances and pensions. Oh, and I almost forgot, the very same basket or moneybag that our Government has plundered through greed and corruption over the past 20 years

Maybe, just maybe, during this period of lockdown and introspection, when our thoughts stay on concerns such as “how do we sustain and maintain our companies, how do we pay our staff and workers, how do I pay my rent or mortgage, and how do I keep my family fed” South Africans may see the light. Maybe, after this pandemic is over -  and it will be in time - we will appreciate our jobs, our companies and the benefits that we derive from them.

Maybe also, trade unions will remember the rationale for their existence: “not to function as labour market monopolies, nor raise wages above competitive levels set by the market, nor create inefficiencies resulting in the loss of jobs and greater income inequality in the workforce”.

And maybe, with lessons duly learnt, we can all then rekindle the tried and tested principles that make countries and people successful and great: integrity, honesty and the feeling of contentment that comes from a hard day’s work and enjoyment of the fruits that follow.

It makes you think… doesn’t it?

DERYCK SPENCE

Executive Director, SAPMA

14 Aug 2018

Water-based paints. Here is a comprehensive guide to the best and safest way of cleaning up after using either

  • ACRYLIC WATER BASED PAINT
  • ENAMEL (SOLVENT BASED) PAINT
  • CAUTION
  • PLANNING AHEAD
  • TIPS FOR DEALING WITH SPILLS
  • TIPS FOR MOVING FROM ONE WORK SITE OT ANOTHER

Easy to Use Cleaning System

This system is based on the use of 2 containers in which brushes, roller sleeves and other equipment are first washed then rinsed. By rotating the containers the solids in the paints are separated from the liquid making it easier to dispose of each component. This system will work well for both water based and solvent based (alkyd or oil) paints. For solvent based paints use mineral turpentine or another paint solvent recommended by your local paint stockist.

 Water-based paints

1. At the end of each job, wipe or squeeze excess paint onto an absorb ant material such as old rags, shredded newspapers or cardboard boxes.

2. Allow to the paper (etc.) to dry and dispose of it with your household waste.

3. Wash brushes and rollers etc. in a 20 litre or similar sized container (bucket)

4. Transfer the washed items to another similar container filled with water for a second rinse

5. Place lids on the containers (or cover in some other secure manner) and let stand overnight. (See storage of paints)

6. By morning the paint solids in the first container will have settled to the bottom of the container. The clear water from this container may now be poured onto the garden or any grassed or open area where it can be absorbed into the ground. Avoid areas near rivers and lakes

7. Now to dispose of the residue paint solids at the bottom of the first container. Scrape out the bottom of the container onto absorbent material such as old rags, shredded newspapers or cardboard boxes. Allow to dry then place in a plastic bag and dispose of with the household waste or take directly to the nearest council landfill.

If you have more painting to do the second container can now be used as the first wash. Use this rotation system until the job is completed.

Solvent-based paints

Follow the same procedures as for water-based paints with these exceptions:

1. Use mineral turpentine or another recommended solvent instead of water to clean your brushes and rollers etc.

2. Allow the first container to stand for at least 24 hours as it will take this long for the paint solids to settle and give a clear solvent above.

3. Do not pour the clear solvent onto the ground - use it to top up the second container or decant it and keep for future use.

Caution

Never allow waste or chemical solvents from washed paint equipment to enter household or storm water drains or sewers. The waste may find its way into the natural waterways where it can reduce oxygen levels and threaten the survival of fish and other aquatic organisms.

Planning Ahead

It’s a good idea to keep a container of “dirty turps” on hand for cleaning purposes. Kept in a secure container in a safe place you will be able to reuse the solvent time and time again. But remember not to shake it up as this will disturb the paint solids which will have settled to the bottom of the container.

Tip for Dealing with Spills

If water based paint is accidentally spilt clean it up as best you can with a cloth or a newspaper. Then wash down with water. By cleaning up as much of the spilt paint as you can before washing down you will save water and give yourself less work to do.

Moving from One Work Site to Another

A plastic pail with a tight fitting lid is ideal for the short term storage and transport of brushes and roller sleeves. Fill this pail about half way with water so that brushes etc. are covered. This will save you having clean brushes and rollers whenever work is interrupted. Wrapping a paint brush in cling wrap will prevent the paint drying on the brush for at least an hour or so while you take a lunch break.

11 Sep 2019

The international and coatings market was estimated to be US$131.8 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow at a rate of 5.75% per year to a projected value of US$178.8 billion by 2021. Asia-Pacific is the largest market for paints and coatings and is now growing fastest at about 12% per year.

Growth is also rapid in Europe and North America while in developing countries of Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, construction of new residential and commercial buildings is booming and is expected to further increase in future.

The global increase in research and development in the paints and coatings industry is now mainly propelled by the emergence of “green” buildings and Nano coatings that strive to make the world a healthier place to live in. Nano coatings are very fine, thin layers of polymeric chemical substances used to impart specific corrosion resistance, as well as other chemical and physical properties to a substrate surface.

The construction paints and coatings market is driven by factors such as advances in civil construction and high demand for efficient paints that can act as protective layers for buildings and prevent the building from corrosion, dampness and damages due to extreme weather conditions. (Source: reuters.com).

11 Sep 2019

Engineers at Duke University in Durham, UK, have developed a polymer that keeps ships’ bottoms clean by “twitching like living skin”.

The paint-like coating – which is not toxic - combats hull fouling by preventing marine organisms from collecting on hulls by physically moving on the microscopic level and thus dislodging bacteria from the surface without toxic chemicals.

Marine life loves to colonise almost any solid surface if it gets half a chance and once a collection of seaweed, barnacles, molluscs, bivalves and worms sets up house they can turn even the sleekest of racing hulls into something about as hydrodynamic as a burst mattress. This can not only slow down the ship, but also reduce fuel efficiency as the vessel burns more fuel to drag along its unwelcome guests.

The Duke University approach to rid ships of fouling builds on earlier work of Duke engineer, Xuanhe Zhao, who has developed a way of causing polymers to deform when stimulated. This “twitching” can be either in waves and bumps or in specific patterns so the polymer can be programmed to twitch in a way that is most effective in dislodging bacteria before it can establish itself.

“We have developed a material that ‘wrinkles,’ or changes its surface in response to a stimulus, such as stretching or pressure or electricity,” says Zhao. “This deformation can effectively detach biofilms and other organisms that have accumulated on the surface.”

The team has tested the system in the laboratory using simulated seawater, biofilms and barnacles and they say that the polymer can be applied like a conventional paint. Aside from ships’ hulls they see the polymer having applications in removing biofilms from artificial joint implants and water purification membranes.

29 Jan 2016

Wet weather can encourage an unwelcome growth to make its home in kitchens, bathrooms and sometimes whole living areas.

The culprit is mould, a living plant organism present in soil and dust, which is scattered by air currents or insect movements.

To be able to prosper on walls and ceilings, the mould or mildew spores need food and moisture which is generally present in dust and dirt on the surface.

Bathrooms and laundries often lack ventilation and have an excess of moisture – the main causes of mould growth.

According toSAPMA, the damage can be costly if mould is left to take a grip on painted surfaces, but removal of the growth for repainting is simple.

First, wash with a brush or sponge, using a solution of one cup of household bleach to nine cups of water.

Allow the solution to stay on the surface for a least 10 minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly with clean water. In very bad cases, two or more washings with the bleach solution may be necessary.

Allow the surface to dry completely and then, as an added protection, you may like to apply an anti-mould solution, available at most hardware stores.

When it is dry, paint the surface in the usual manner without washing off the anti-mould solution. You may also like to have a fungicidal additive mixed into the paint. This service is available from all good paint stockists.

29 Jan 2016

BACKGROUND

In view of recent comments in the press which are tending to put the position of lead and paint into an unfortunate limelight I feel that a summary of the current situation is necessary to get the correct perspective. Recent press releases give the impression that all paint contains lead and so paint per se is toxic. One sees now why the Press cannot be taken seriously as again they have gone off half-cock and it is necessary to put the record straight.First it must be understood that lead is an accumulative (chronic) toxicity and accumulates in the body. Lead is a common element and is widely spread in nature and under normal circumstances the body excretes it and so levels do not increase and the body can cope with naturally occurring amounts. In order to have an effect however lead has to be in a form that can be digested and to get into the system Lead as a metal is relatively inert and was used since Roman days as such things as water pipes. If there is acidity in the water however some lead will be dissolved and so cause problems. The Romans did use lead vessels for wine storage until they discovered that the acid in the wine could react with it – formation of Lead Acetate. The problems of lead poisoning have been around for a long time!

It is this solubility of certain lead compounds in the stomach acid that is the problem. If the lead is in such a form that it is not soluble in acids then there is no problem. It is quite safe to continue using that beautiful lead crystal glassware! Lead has also been used in glazes for pottery and gives effects difficult to produce otherwise and it has been established when properly used it presents no problem to the user. If the solubility of a lead compound in acid is such that the stomach acids can dissolve or convert it then it is considered as toxic.

As defined in the Dept of Labour Lead Regs. “lead paint” means any paint, primer, paste, spray, stopping, filling or other material used in painting, which, when treated in accordance with the health and safety standards, yields to an aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid a quantity of soluble lead compound exceeding five percent of the dry weight of the portion taken for analysis when calculated as lead monoxide;

In this way it is not the total amount of lead that is so important but the amount of soluble lead!

Children have a much faster metabolism than adults and a smaller body mass and so are more prone to the effects. Add to this the built in desire to shove everything in their mouths and we can see a greater problem.

THE PROBLEM

The problems of lead in paint and the effect on children arose some time ago when white lead was widely used in wood primers. Children would chew on windowsills in particular and this was exacerbated by the fact that the compound of lead in the paint had a sweet taste.

Lead has been used in paints in three ways : –
  • As an aid to speed up drying. (The quantities involved are minimum nevertheless this has been eliminated in paints for decorative purposes by SAPMA members and they have placed warnings on the cans of any paints at below this level )
  • As an anticorrosive agent. Lead in some forms, (White & Red Lead) have been used for years, as they are excellent for protecting wood and steel. Their use has now been discontinued. When used as anticorrosive pigment took the form of an oxide, sulphate or carbonate, all of which are very soluble in acids in the stomach. Currently the greatest problem with these coatings lies in its removal when repainting is necessary.
  • As a coloured pigment. Lead based pigments in the form of chromates and similar compounds still remain the most cost-effective method of obtaining stable, bright and durable coatings. One reason for their good performance as pigments lies in their chemical stability. They are much less toxic than Red and White Lead as their soluble lead content is lower and they are used in lesser amounts. See definition above of soluble lead.

Leads compounds encountered in the paint industry, past and present, are
  • Oxides Carbonates Hydroxide
  • litharge and red lead
  • White lead (Carbonate/hydroxide) White lead (Carbonate/hydroxide)
  • High soluble High soluble High soluble
  • Sulphate Chromates Plumbates Driers
Coloured lead pigments such driers may still be used in industrial coatings due to their properties but they have been largely phased out in the decorative market. Oxides, Carbonates, Hydroxides, and Sulphates have been replaced.

When evaluating lead levels in paint this must be done on a basis of soluble lead and total lead. A further complication comes from the fact that paints are supplied in admixture with volatile solvents and other hazardous substances so consideration has to be given to this aspect. This means that the toxic lead content has to be calculated as soluble lead on the non-volatile content. When it is considered that the dried paint film means that the lead is encapsulated in the dried binder, generally a very stable plastic substance, the quantity of lead that can be leached out in the stomach is very small. Most ingested dried paint must go straight through the body.

A total ban on lead paints as shown in the proposed legislation would be counter-productive. It must be obvious to all that road line paints need to be based upon highly visible colours and to have excellent durability. The same can be said for heavy earth moving machines, fire engines, communication masts and the like. The Dept of Health have therefore targeted coating used by the domestic market for strictly decorative reasons which are less susceptible to environmental exposure problems.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS?

We must consider the vast quantities of lead which have been put into the atmosphere in the last eighty years by petrol engines When petrol passes through it is effect burnt and the lead compounds contained in it are expelled into the air in the form of lead or its oxide in the form of fine particulates. Over a period it could be expected that this would react with the carbon dioxide in the air to form the carbonate and so remain equally toxic. A search of the web will show how this lead contamination is widespread and has got into the food chain. Just as in the case of global warming our past is catching up with us. This dust is all over then and problem must be more one of lead on paint rather than lead in paint. Good old-fashioned sanitation can be an answer here. Use a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth – not a duster to clean. Perhaps the question of hygiene is the reason for the report that there is a higher incidence of lead levels in townships – they do not have the facilities there.

If y
ou live in a building which is more than 30 to 40 years old then the woodwork might have a lead primer or if the finished colour and is bright yellow, orange, red or green then there could be lead present. So if it is do not eat it – let sleeping dogs lie. The general rule is as always “never remove paint in good condition” – clean it and rub it down with fine sandpaper then paint over it. If it is flaking and in bad condition or is so heavy as to stop windows or doors from closing then it will need to be removed. If you have reason to suspect that lead may be present extra care must be taken.

Abrading the paint will produce dust and, lead or no lead it, would be unwise to breathe this dust and so a dust mask should be used. It is also advisable to avoid skin contact and cover the hair.

The alternatives to this are the use of paint removers or heat guns. Both of these present problems and care must be taken to use paint removers from reliable manufacturers with proper guidelines on the labels. In the case of the use of heat guns again precautions are needed. Heat should soften and blister the paint making it easy to scrape off and fumes can be produced if over heated. Only sufficient heat should be used to loosen the paint – try to avoid burning the paint. It is wise to use a respirator and cover up and have a fire extinguisher handy. Once cool and safe put scrapings into a plastic bag for disposal.

Modern paint technology continues to follow the green road and continues to produce more environmentally coatings without sacrificing quality and durability. It must be obvious from the fact that more and more water based coatings are coming onto the market as research and development continues. The Paint Manufacturers Members do all they can to produce fool-proof coatings but cannot produce blood-fool proof products. Make sure that the materials you purchase are from reputable sources and read the label before you purchase.

Let us hope that the Governments current initiatives in legislation to control lead in paint used on children’s toys will have the desired effect and there can be no doubt that it is step in the right direction. The lower lead usage in fuels will affect the issue even if it is too late to curb the damage done. But in the same way as stricter licensing of firearms does not affect thieves, robbers and murderers, any reduction in the availability of firearms will contribute to the end result. The public must place its confidence in organisations such as the White lead (artists colours – historical) red, orange, yellow and green pigments.

calcium plumbate

Lead salts of various organic acids

High Soluble Low Soluble Mod Soluble High Soluble

are chromates, molybdenates & sulphosuccinates, along with plumbates and

Paint Manufacturers Association and should not be mislead by mass media suggestions from unqualified sources.

LAF Sept 2009

29 Jan 2016

The emotive subject of “Lead in Paint” has raised its nasty head once more resulting in sensational newspaper banners announcing that 60% of all paint sold in South Africa contains illegal levels of ‘brain damaging lead’ and casting insinuations that the Paint industry in South Africa are either oblivious of lead levels in paint or disinterested in facing up to the responsibility of poisoning our children. It is of equal concern that ill informed, but well intentioned people, are driven to spreading disinformation on the hazards associated with paint and the use of lead pigments, as was the recent case in the article published in a Kwa Zulu Natal newspaper, which was based on an Indian study, written nearly five years ago, to highlight the short comings of the Indian Paint Industry and in doing so used information pertaining to the South African market. The adage of “Why mess up a good story with the truth” is a case in point.

A summary of the current information is necessary to get the correct perspective. Firstly, it should be understood that lead has accumulative (chronic) toxicity and can accumulate in the body. Lead is a common element and is widely spread in nature and under normal circumstances the body excretes it and so levels do not increase and the body can cope with a small amount. If the intake however, is excessive it will accumulate over a period of time, with side effects.

The physiological differences in children means that the same amount of lead to an adult can have different effects on them and it also appears that metabolic differences means that the effects upon children are exacerbated especially in the forming brain. The greater possibility of children putting strange things in their mouths also adds to the problem.

It is so widespread that it is virtually impossible to call anything ‘Lead free’ and for this reason some manufacturers prefer to use the term ‘No added lead’ when referring to the subject. Alternatively, they would need to conduct complex analysis on all their raw materials.

Since lead is an accumulative poison certain lead products are classified as chronic toxins and are therefore classified as “Hazardous Substances’ and not as ‘Dangerous Goods’ since little or no direct contact with the substance is contemplated in the transportation thereof.

During the last century large amounts of lead have been put into the environment due to the use of lead in petrol. This still continues to some extent, but is being reduced with the use of lead free fuels. It is interesting to note that most of the impetus to remove the lead has come because of smog in larger cities and not because of the lead content pushed into the atmosphere. To reduce emissions of undesirable pollutants, platinum elements in the exhaust systems of motor vehicles became mandatory in certain cities, but these elements are killed by lead in the fuel – hence the need to reduce lead. This incidentally also meant re-engineering the IC engine and as the older engines are damaged by lead-free petrol an immediate change was not feasible.

The danger lies in the fact that in emphasising the one aspect, the greater danger is ignored. More recently a broader view than those of the metropolitan areas has been taken i.e. air pollution, the use of lead in petrol has been seriously addressed and levels reduced. The first use of lead in petrol was used in the mid 1920’s and only vague calculations can be made as to how many tons have been spewed into the atmosphere and are now part of the food chain.

Lead is a very stable product and nearly all the lead used in petrol must still be around somewhere. Opening Google, on the world wide internet and entering “lead in bread” is an illuminating experience. It must be understood that the lead on the paint is far greater than the lead in the paint.

What now needs to be understood is that thousands of tons of lead distributed through car exhausts is still around and the vegetation must have taken some of it up and so got into the food chain. In addition, the lead content in the ground, particularly in the Gauteng area where gold mining and uranium extraction have been prevalent for decades exacerbates the issue even further. Attempting to draw the attention away from this by placing the blame on paint is counter productive. This lead is not going to go away and so the medical profession now needs to tackle the real issues by finding ways of minimising the effects and stop tilting at windmills. The damage has been done and the need to minimise the effects on the most susceptible, the children, must now become the priority. Legislation can do nothing to reduce the current lead in the environment no matter where it came from, it would be closing the stable door after the horse has gone.

We now have a new regulation from the Department of Heath in the pipeline. The department of Labour issued Lead Regulations 2001 which defines “Lead Paint” but the Department of Health do not appear to be aware of it and have a different definition in their new regulation. This adds to the confusion. It is interesting to note that there has been a South African Standard (SANS 10265) around since 1999 which covers the labelling of hazardous substances including lead containing products but no Government department has seen fit to recognise it.

It is of interest to note that a recent article in the press suggests that it is illegal to sell lead containing paint but that is not so. Providing it complies with the Lead Regulations it is quite legal.

It is the solubility of certain lead compounds in the acid in the stomach that present problems, otherwise it goes straight through the system. If the lead is in such a form that it is not soluble in stomach acids, then there is no problem. It is quite safe to continue using that beautiful lead crystal glassware. It has been established that lead solubility in acid is the deciding factor because the stomach acids can solubilise the lead and in doing so, make it toxic. In this way it is not the total amount of lead that is so important, but the amount of soluble lead, and accordingly, this is the definition given in the lead regulations.

The problems of lead in paint and the effect on children arose many years ago when white lead was widely used in wood primers. Children would chew on lead in the windowsills in particular and in this was exacerbated by the fact that the compound of the lead in the paint had a sweet taste. As a point of interest, Lead Acetate was also known as ‘Sugar of Lead’ because it had a sweet taste. As this chemical is easily soluble even in water it is very toxic.

Besides the use of Red and White Lead in primers Lead based pigments still remain the most cost effective method of obtaining stable bright and durable colourful coatings (Particularly yellow, red and green) It is in this area that SAPMA members are committed to eliminate their use and use more expensive, but safer substitutes where necessary. We do not expect children to eat road line paint but we do need a stable pigment to make it more durable. The amount of lead in an available form in these pigments is much lower than in the oxides and also they are used in lesser quantities. The availability of lead as a toxin is defined in the Lead Regulations.

In 1973, the Department of Health published the Hazardous Substances Act, but were apparently unaware that the United Nations Dangerous Goods classification was limited to only certain aspects of the subject and they adapted this listing for the purpose of defining Hazardous Substances in the Republic. This, in effect, excludes all chronic toxins as these are not particularly dangerous for transport, only for repeated exposure. In the compilation of Safety Data Sheets, the Department of Labour cover the use and the definitions of substances hazardous to health by means of another listing as used in Europe which takes into account all aspects of health and safety concerning direct contact with chemicals. As mentioned earlier the Department of Labour have regulations concerning the definition and labelling of lead which do not seem to have been considered. It is interesting to note that although the labelling requirements are shown on these sheets they do not need to be on the containers as there is no regulation on this aspect

This means that thousands of chemical preparations are being sold and the supplier is left to his own devices to label if and as he sees fit. This is in spite of a largely neglected standard (SANS 10265) which covers this. Pity the Dept of Health did not know about this when it was published.

When Angela Mathee’s paper was sensationalised in 2003, the paint industry, through the auspices of the South African Paint Manufacturers Association, SAPMA, together with the South African Toy Industry, accepted the challenge and the opportunity of participating with the Department of Health, in the quest for controlling the use of lead in paint and were indeed principal participants in the drawing up of the current legislation classifying lead in paint as a hazardous substance. SAPMA participated in an educational promotion, together with the Department of Health and the Medical Research Council, whereby communicative educational material entitled “Lead in Paint, an invisible poison” highlighting signs and symptoms of lead poisoning, were widely distributed in densely populated areas. In addition to other recommendations to it’s members on labelling some of which has been in place for some 25 years –e.g. “Contains Lead – not to be used on articles likely to be sucked or chewed by children”, SAPMA embarked, at its own expense, on its own communications project, advising retailers, who sell the paint to the public and the consumer, of the relevance of lead in paint and highlighting the responsibilities falling on the retailers of paint, in providing the correct information and products to the consumer. SAPMA, through its executive, communicated its very strong views on the subject, to all its manufacturing members and included the responsible use of lead in paints, under the conditions of the legislation, in its comprehensive Code of Conduct and insisted on compliance of the legislation. Hardly the actions of a disinterested industry.

Les Fisher, a doyen of the paint industry, whose career has spanned a half a century, recently commented on the subject:

“When evaluating lead levels in paint this must be done on the basis of soluble lead and not total lead. In this way the total amount of lead calculated as an element is meaningless it is only that which is in an available form and can be digested that matters. Having a lead battery in your car does not make it toxic!!

So if you are living in a building which is more that 30 to 40 years old, then the woodwork might have a lead primer in it and if it is more than 10 to 15 years old and is bright yellow, red or green, then there could be lead present. So if it is, do not eat it – let sleeping dogs lie. As lead is a slow, sneaky, accumulative poison it is at its most dangerous in small doses over a long period of time as opposed to one massive dose, which would probably go straight through the system. In the case of children, they may have faster metabolisms than adults and a smaller body mass so are more prone to the effects. Add to this built in desire to shove anything and everything in their mouths and we can see a greater problem.

Considering the vast quantities of lead which have been put into the atmosphere from petrol in a digestible form the problem could be more one of lead on paint rather than lead in paint and I believe it is then good old-fashioned sanitation that can be the answer. Use a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth – not a duster to clean. You do not have to eat lead contaminated substances – only breathe them. As Tom Lehrer put it “It is alright to breathe providing you don’t inhale”.

Let us hope that Government’s current initiatives in legislation to control lead in paint used on children’s toys has some effect, which compliments their initiative to call for the testing of all imported toys. The lower lead in fuels will affect the issue more.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the South African Paint Manufacturers Association represent only 65% of the paint manufactured in South Africa at present, since membership of the Association is voluntary. SAPMA is constantly striving to expand its influence over the remaining 35% of the market, which represent approximately 200 small to medium sized manufacturers of paint and coatings. In addition, significant changes and updates are being updated on the SAPMA website offering consumers and paint users useful information pertaining to old lead painted surfaces and the future choice of paints that are safe.

SAPMA is dedicated to a programme of continuous improvement in the industry and an expansion of its membership in pursuance of responsibility and accountability towards the general public by the paint industry. The Responsible Packaging Management Association Industry (RPMASA) joins them in an endeavour to make the supply of chemical preparations to the retail market trouble-free and ensure that all concerned formulate, label and pack their products in a sensible and responsible way.

14 Aug 2018

The government is no longer going to tolerate lead in paint and methanol in thinners – and offenders will face prison sentences of up to 10 years or heavy fines.

Noluzuko Gwayi: Senior Policy Advisor (Director), International Chemicals and Waste Cooperation of the Department of Environmental Affairs, issued this stern warning at the recent Coatings for Africa exposition and conference in Sandton.

Gwayi said the draft amendment for the Hazardous Substances Act decrees that the level of lead in paint - previously legislated at 600ppm – would now be only 90ppm to fall in line with international standards. A socio-economic impact assessment study (SEIAS) was already underway and the amendment was likely to be promulgated next year or early 2020.

“Once the amendment is legal, all manufacturers and retailers who continue to manufacture or sell products with illegal levels of hazardous substances will be prosecuted and face fines of up to R10 million and/or 10 years’ imprisonment,” Gwayi added.

She also gave the assurance that the proposed new legislation would be strictly policed by the government.

Deryck Spence, executive director of the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA) welcomed the government’s strong stance on a matter SAPMA had for many years crusaded for. 

“It should be noted that the Department of Health has announced that methanol - another deadly toxic chemical – was also on the hazardous substances list and has already undergone the necessary SEIAS assessment study which is now with the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation for approval. Once the SEIAS is approved, the declaration list will be submitted for publication and implementation.” 

Spence says methanol – now liberally used by some manufacturers and blenders to dilute lacquer thinners - would then be banned, like lead, from use and manufacturers, blenders and retailers subject to similar prosecution. 

“It is therefore vital that retailers protect themselves by demanding that their suppliers of paint and lacquer thinners sign an indemnification document, testifying that the products they supply are free of both lead and methanol and no danger to the public. SAPMA intends assisting the government in every way possible to police this legislation to ensure that members who act responsibly do not face unfair competition from offenders who use the cheap - but highly dangerous – formulas that still include methanol in thinners and lead in paint.” 

Chirag Madhu, MD of SAPMA-member, Medal Paints – a pioneer of lead and methanol-free products - says despite competition against cheaper methanol-diluted products, Medal Paints would continue to put human health and safety above cheaper and more dangerous raw materials. “Medal’s lacquer thinners contains no methanol and will remain so regardless of market pressure, as will our child-proof caps on the bottles. It is not negotiable,” Madhu confirmed.

Medal Paints is currently in the transition phase for re-certification from the ISO9001:2008 standard to the ISO9001:2015 standard.

14 Aug 2018
Paints supplied for DIY use should not contain any added lead. The Hazardous substance Act is in the process of being amended in line with International standards reducing lead in paint to 90ppm. Consumers must request confirmation from the Paint retailer or supplier that the product they have chosen complies with the new regulations. All paints manufactured in South Africa must comply to the newly amended Hazardous Substance Act and should contain no more than 90ppm of lead.

14 Aug 2018

Wet weather can encourage an unwelcome growth to make its home in kitchens, bathrooms and sometimes whole living areas.

The culprit is mould, a living plant organism present in soil and dust, which is scattered by air currents or insect movements.

To be able to prosper on walls and ceilings, the mould or mildew spores need food and moisture which is generally present in dust and dirt on the surface.

Bathrooms and laundries often lack ventilation and have an excess of moisture - the main causes of mould growth.

According to SAPMA, the damage can be costly if mould is left to take a grip on painted surfaces, but removal of the growth for repainting is simple.

First, wash with a brush or sponge, using a solution of one cup of household bleach to nine cups of water.

Allow the solution to stay on the surface for a least 10 minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly with clean water. In very bad cases, two or more washings with the bleach solution may be necessary.

Allow the surface to dry completely and then, as an added protection, you may like to apply an anti-mould solution, available at most hardware stores.

When it is dry, paint the surface in the usual manner without washing off the anti-mould solution. You may also like to have a fungicidal additive mixed into the paint. This service is available from all good paint stockists.

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