14 Aug 2018
The South African Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA) (BCF) represents the manufacturers of 90% of the paint and coatings sold in South Africa and neighboring countries. Consumer safety is of the utmost importance to all SAPMA members, and SAPMA members do not sell lead-containing paint for use on playground equipment.

SAPMA recommends that any paint supplied for use on playground equipment complies with the relevant standards. The responsibility for the safety of playground equipment, however, lies with the suppliers of such equipment as they are the only ones in a position to fully know what has been used in its manufacture.

Whilst there is no specific legislation for coatings on playground equipment, the safety requirements for this are specified by the European standard BS EN 1176. This requires that, amongst other safety aspects, suppliers of playground equipment avoid the use of dangerous substances in such a way that they can cause adverse health effects to the user of the equipment. The standard draws attention to the provisions of the EU dangerous substances legislation and specifically prohibits certain materials, including lead. Therefore, paint containing lead would not be expected to be used on playground equipment supplied in the EU.

It is possible that the equipment has been imported from outside the EU. In such case, the importer, supplying to an EU customer should be expected to ensure that the equipment complies with the standard (i.e. does not contain lead). Toys and playground equipment made to EU standards are world-leading with regards to safety, but the import of already-coated materials, as we have seen before, are often uncontrolled.

Whilst the use of any equipment containing lead should be avoided, the risk needs to be understood. Although lead is hazardous to health it is important to realise that there is only a risk if exposure can occur. Lead is not absorbed through the skin, therefore exposure is only likely through inhaling or eating dust or flakes or if there is the possibility of the painted surface being chewed or sucked.

It may also be possible that playground equipment has been in place for many years and may have pre-dated the controls. In such case, if a lead-containing painted surface is in good condition and is already protected (over-coated) with a non-lead containing paint and is maintained in a good condition then the risk is negligible.

Playground equipment should also be maintained to ensure it can continue to be used safely. Municipalities and play-ground managers should, therefore, ensure that playgroud equipment is monitored and maintained to prevent dust or particles of the paint (film) from flaking or chipping and to avoid earlier layers of the coating from being exposed by wear.

The South African Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA), as a member of the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC), is part of a global campaign to eliminate lead from paints, through the Lead Paint Alliance of the World Health Organisation.

14 Nov 2018

UK decorative paint suppliers want to ensure that the public and professional painters and decorators continue to be aware of the potential risks in homes, commercial properties and public buildings that are associated with exposure to old painted surfaces that contain lead.

The adoption of the best practices, which protect decorators, and others likely to be affected by exposure to any disturbed old lead painted surfaces, is a key requirement in the process of removal and repainting activities.



Lead is hazardous to health.

It can be breathed in as dust, fume or vapour. It can be swallowed in the form of paint chips, dust or dirt containing lead or in drinking water or in food, especially if you have not washed your hands.

Lead contained in old lead painted surfaces cannot be absorbed through the skin.

If the amount of lead in your body gets too high it can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pains
  • Anaemia
  • Loss of weight

Continued uncontrolled exposure can cause high blood lead levels that can have very serious health consequences, such as:

  • Kidney damage
  • Nerve and brain damage
  • Infertility

Note: These symptoms can also have causes other than lead exposure so they do not necessarily mean that lead poisoning has occurred.

Very young children would be particularly vulnerable to these potential adverse health effects of elevated levels of lead in the blood. Children absorb lead mostly by eating it or touching contaminated dust or soil and then putting their fingers into their mouths. An unborn child is at particular risk from lead exposure, especially in the early weeks before a pregnancy becomes known.

If you are a woman capable of having children you should take special care to follow good working practices and a high level of personal hygiene. Similarly unnecessary exposure of children to lead should be eliminated as a precautionary measure.

If you think that your health, or the health of any member of your family may have been affected by lead you should contact your local doctor immediately


Lead pigments were taken out of most paints in the 1960s and lead pigments and driers were completely removed by the early 1980s. Many surfaces painted before the 1960s could contain significant lead; although this applies mainly to wood and metal surfaces.

Lead pigments, either as a white pigment (lead carbonate/lead sulphate) or sometimes as a colouring pigment (lead chromes) were widely used in decorative paints applied in houses and other buildings (schools, hospitals etc.). Although leaded paint has not been used for many decades old lead painted surfaces can still be found, and can represent a possible source of exposure.

To be absolutely certain whether or not lead-containing paint is present on any particular surface, the paint needs to be tested by a specialist laboratory (a), a professional decorator (b) knowledgeable about the subject or a specialist company (c).

Lead test kits, that give a simple indication of the presence of lead, are available from some retailers and trade counters and directly from distributors (d). If the instructions for use are followed carefully, and the test paper shows a positive response then lead is present. However as the test is not necessarily 100% accurate a negative reading should not be relied upon to show the absence of lead and if you think there could be lead present then a quantitative test should be carried out – see c) below.

  1. Details of analytical laboratories which carry out lead testing are available from the
  2. Details of analytical laboratories which carry out lead testing are available from the South African Bureau of Standards.
  3. The Department of Health.



Whilst lead is hazardous to health it is important to realise that there is only a risk if the paint film is unsound or disturbed.

If the lead-containing painted surface is in good condition and/or is already protected (over-coated) with a non-lead containing paint and is maintained in a good condition then removal could result in a greater exposure to lead dusts and particles than would otherwise occur from leaving the paint undisturbed.

Old lead painted surfaces should only be treated or removed if the paint (film) is flaking or chipping away or if dusts and particles are present or if there is the possibility of the painted surface being chewed or sucked by children.

The precautions outlined below should be carefully followed by both professional decorators and by DIY users. Do-it-yourselfers who are in any way uncertain about their ability to follow these precautions should consult a professional decorator.



i) Introduction

It is important that the following precautions are taken when renovating/removing old lead paint.

  1. Avoid creation of lead-containing dusts or fumes.
  2. Prohibit anyone not involved in the work from the area, and preferably the building until the area has been thoroughly and effectively cleaned.
  3. Ensure no children or pregnant women are present in any area where renovation work which involves the disturbance of lead-containing surfaces is taking place.
  4. Do not smoke, eat or drink in the work area.


ii) Preparation

It is advised that the following steps are taken prior to starting work.

  1. Remove furniture, curtains and soft furnishing as far as possible. If this cannot be done, cover these and other permanent items (including flooring) with plastic sheeting sealed with heavy duty tape. Beware of slipping on these surfaces.
  2. Keep people out of area – see: i) Introduction (above).
  3. Wear overalls and rubber gloves within the work area, and remove them before leaving the area.
  4. For outside working contamination of the soil should be avoided. Cover all grass, garden beds etc. within the near vicinity with plastic sheeting. Avoid working in windy conditions.


iii) Removal/redecoration

To remove the old lead-containing paint carry out one or more of the following.

  1. To prepare surfaces in good condition (no flaking, loss of adhesion from the underlying surface) for repainting the surface should be rubbed down wet with waterproof abrasive paper to provide a key for new coat(s) of paint. The debris from rubbing down should not be allowed to dry out and form dust. It should be removed with a damp cloth and the cloth, abrasive paper and any other debris placed in a plastic bag, sealed and disposed of. Avoid any dust creation.
  2. In the case of walls and ceilings these can be best treated with wallcoverings or lining paper after a) above.
  3. To completely remove paint in a poor condition;

Either: Use a chemical paint stripper, ensuring that all instructions on the container are carefully followed. A suitable face mask to protect from fumes might be required. Such masks will NOT protect against dusts and should not be used for such purposes.

[For stripping doors a specialist stripping company, which can remove the paint safely and completely in stripping baths, can be used.]

Or: Use a paint scraper and wet abrasive paper, both these operations should be carried out after wetting the surface and the surface should be kept wet throughout to avoid dust and flakes becoming air-borne. The debris from scraping and rubbing down should not be allowed to dry out and form dust. It should be removed with a damp cloth and the cloth, abrasive paper and other debris placed in a plastic bag, sealed and disposed of.

Or: Use infra red (IR) stripping equipment to soften the paint film sufficiently to be able to scrape it off. The softened paint should be scraped immediately into a suitable container before it re-hardens. A suitable face mask to protect exposure to lead containing dusts may be required. Any subsequent surface preparation should be done wet with waterproof abrasive paper.

Or: Use a hot air gun to soften the paint film sufficiently to be able to scrape it off. The softened paint should be scraped immediately into a suitable container before it re-hardens. A suitable face mask to protect exposure to lead containing dusts may be required. Take care that the paint does not burn. Any subsequent surface preparation should be done wet with waterproof abrasive paper.


iv)  Clean up prior to redecoration

Thoroughly wash all surfaces, both those from which lead containing paints have been removed and others in the work area. Allow to dry before applying new paint, or wallcoverings to walls and ceilings. Vacuum all surfaces with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a high efficiency particle air filter (HEPA). Many vacuum cleaners are fitted with HEPA filters and are marked as such.

Dispose of all debris, including masks and filters in plastic bags and seal with tape – householders should place these bags in the dustbin. Professional decorators should dispose of the waste in accordance with the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 (and amendments). Lead-containing wastes do not fall within the definition of special wastes, but the Environment Agency may classify them as such. Professional painters are advised to check with their local waste regulator on appropriate disposal routes.

Clean up all debris frequently, as well as at the end of each day. Remove all debris from the work area before redecorating.

DO NOT burn or incinerate lead-containing wastes.



If paint is in sound condition do NOT remove it, especially if the lead paint is not the top layer – just overcoat

If in doubt check whether old lead paint is present (see 3 above)

Keep anyone not carrying out the work out of the area

Keep dusts to a minimum – only use wet abrasive paper

Do NOT use blow lamps or gas torches to strip paint

Do NOT create lead fumes by over-heating lead containing paints

Wear protective clothing and masks (if required)

Clean up thoroughly after the removal of old lead paint

Do NOT burn or incinerate lead-containing wastes.


 Further enquiries can be made to

29 Jan 2016
Depending on the state of the walls in the room to be painted, there will be surface preparation requirements needed prior to applying any paint system.

‘For every hour of painting, five hours of preparation is advised’, states Toni Stella,. This implies that planning your paint job is essential for a successful paint project.

Tip 1: Ensure you have the correct tools for your paint job. This includes, brushes, scrapers, sandpaper, rollers and drop sheets. Remember that good quality paint rollers and brushes, accompanied by good workmanship will almost always certainly ensure an attractive paint finish.

Tip 2: Before settling on a colour, brush out a paint sample on the wall to be painted. Observe the colour under natural and/or artificial lighting to determine whether or not you are completely satisfied with your paint colour choice.

Tip 3: Make sure you have measured up the area to be painted before you purchase your paint. A correct estimation of the paint quantity will not only ensure that you start and finish your paint project uninterrupted, but will also aid in colour accuracy for tinted products.

Tip 4: For standard colours, buy paints identifiable by the same manufacturing batch code. This will minimize colour variations substantially.

Tip 5: Read the instructions on your paint bucket to ensure you are aware of paint product application specifications and recoating times.

Tip 6: For paint that has been purchased in multiple containers eg. 4 x 5 litre buckets, pour all the paint into a 20 litre bucket and mix to ensure colour consistency and uniformity.

Tip 7: Before paint work commences, ensure you have moved/removed room accessories and/or fittings that could interfere and consequently affect the outcome of your paint workmanship, such as curtains, furniture, plugs and light switch covers.

Tip 8: For your safety and comfort, ensure you have adequate ventilation in the room being painted. Ventilation also aids in the drying process of your chosen paint and helps eliminate the minute chemical vapours that are commonly emitted from any paint.

For surfaces that are in good condition, a good wash-down with Alkali Degreaser will remove dirt, stains and even grease.

Painted surfaces in a poor state will need a lot more remedial action before the paint is applied. Groves and indentations can create shadow effects on the wall and this can have an adverse effect on the overall appearance of your chosen paint’s colour.

Cracks should be filled with a flexible filler to create a smooth and even surface before painting. If dampness is noted on the room’s walls, the source of the moisture must be traced before consequently filling and applying the paint.

Scrape away flakes and irregularities of old paint. Ensure that all bare surfaces have been primed with Masonry Primer and that glossy surfaces have been sanded down with sandpaper to provide good adhesion for both a good quality Universal Undercoat and the final coats of Pure Acrylic Matt or Silk colour ranges. Remember to apply at least two topcoats for an appealing paint finish.

A feature benefit of using the quality brand is the fact that all its paint products are lead free, thereby implying that you have peace of mind when it comes to using this environmentally friendly product range.

It is highly recommendable to make use of a competent and qualified painter to get the best quality finish on the paint job. There are good preferred applicators who have attended training on SAPMA modules and practical applications.

All the above products above-mentioned are available at paint retailers who are members of SAPMA.

29 Jan 2016
We always buy too much paint for the job. Studies show that between 10% to 15% of paint bought by householders, remains unused at the end of the paint job. Just check our garages and storage sheds. How much of the excess paints ends up either in the garage or thrown in the garbage?


Collection and disposal of leftover paint is going to be expensive, and many local councils are already refusing to collect old paint or paint containers. . You can help by better estimating paint needs per project, which will minimize the amount of paint being sent to your local landfill.

When using paint for projects in and around your home, it is always best to purchase and use only what you will need for the job. A paint specialist or retailer can help you calculate the correct amount of paint needed for a specific project. Alternatively check THE PAINT USAGE CALCULATOR on the Earth Care web page.

Buying only what you need not only cuts down on the amount of leftover paint for storage, reuse or disposal, but it also saves you money!

29 Jan 2016


So the actual problem I need to sort out is that where some of the stubborn paint was chipped away so was some of the plaster. I now have a lot of small indentations I would like to repair. I would like to know what product should I use and what procedure would be the simplest and most cost effective?

29 Jan 2016
Every effort should be made to transport paint safely and responsibly.

When taking paint home from your paint stockist ensure the lid is on firmly to avoid any spills.

If you are driving with paint in the car do not smoke, as paint may contain flammable materials.

If you are taking old paints or chemicals to a dump site, ensure that the lids are on securely and that you do not smoke.

Responsible handling and transport of paint is very important as paint may contain flammable materials. Paint generally consists of 3 elements – a medium or solvent (which may be water or a liquid hydrocarbon), a resin which after drying forms the basis of paint film and a pigment which provides colour to the paint.

29 Jan 2016
    1. Buy only enough paint to do the job
    2. Recent studies have shown that between 10% to 15% of paint bought by householders remained unused at the end of a paint job.
    3. You don’t have to wash your brushes out between applications.
Water-based paints:
     Store brushes and rollers in plastic bags between coats
Solvent-based paints: Store brushes and rollers underwater and when ready to re-use, roll or brush water out on scrap newspaper which can be put out with your household waste

29 Jan 2016
Water-based paints Here is a comprehensive guide to the best and safest way of cleaning up after using either


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.


  • 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.
  • Wash brushes and rollers etc. in a 20 litre or similar sized container (bucket)
  • Transfer the washed items to another similar container filled with water for a second rinse
  • Place lids on the containers (or cover in some other secure manner) and let stand overnight. (See storage of paints)
  • 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.


Follow the same procedures as for water-based paints with these exceptions:
  • Use mineral turpentine or another recommended solvent instead of water to clean your brushes and rollers etc.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

29 Jan 2016
Some types of paint – particularly old gloss paint found mainly on metalwork and in pre-war buildings – may contain lead as a pigment. But properly handled, paintwork with lead need not be a danger.

If you encounter old paint and think that it may contain lead, you can buy a lead test kit from or, alternatively you can contact the Medical Research Council of South Africa.

What to do next? If the surface is good and common sense tells you it is not posing a threat to health, you can simply paint over it thereby sealing it in. Alternatively you may decide that the paint should be removed. In a brochure released today the Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation, is suggesting the following Dos and Don’ts:

  • Don’t use a hot air paint stripper or blowlamp on the paint.
  • Don’t rub it down with dry sandpaper – especially with a power sander.
  • Don’t allow pregnant women, children or pets near the work area.
  • Do remove all furniture before commencing work and cover floor and exposed surfaces with plastic sheeting to collect paint debris.
  • Do wear a respirator that meets the requirements of Australian Standard 1716.
  • Do rub down wet, using waterproof paper or use a chemical stripper.
  • Do wash and keep painting clothes separately from other clothes.
  • Do shower or wash hands thoroughly, directly after finishing work.
  • Do hire an industrial vacuum cleaner with micron sized filters to clean up or have carpets steam cleaned after removing paint.
  • Do hire an industrial vacuum cleaner with micron sized filters to clean up or have carpets steam cleaned after removing paint.
  • Do dispose of paint debris safely – Not by burning.
! Further advice about the effects of lead and how to deal with it can be obtained from SAPMA

29 Jan 2016
To protect and decorate a palisade fence exposed to weather conditions is quite a task which requires extensive preparation and an adequate paint system, particularly in order to obtain the required product performance for at least the next 7-10years. Asking for a 20- year maintenance free system is a bit optimistic when considering the harsh weather conditions in South Africa.

Option 1



Remove all loose,flaking paint using a steel brush and scrapers.


Degrease and remove chalking by abrading the surface with a scouring pad and a degreasing agent (general purpose cleaner).


Rinse off with cleaning running water.




rime all rusty and bare surfaces with two coats of a grey anti-corrosive metal primer at a spreading rate of 6m2/litre, allowing 4-6 hours drying time between coats.


Perform a measle corrosion test to confirm sufficient primer has been applied. Measle test: If tiny brown spots appear, apply a further coat of anti-corrosive primer to cover these spots.


Apply two coats of an exterior pure acrylic wall paint or pure acrylic roof paint. These products will retain their colour for a year or two longer than a high gloss enamel paint.

Option 2

If you are serious about the lifespan and performance of a paint system, the job should be done as follows:


Make sure you wear safety equipment to protect eyes and hands when using a paint stripper. Strip all the existing paint from the palisade using a chemical paint remover or a heat gun, or, if you can, find a company to assist you with sand blasting the palisades.


After stripping the paint, remove the old residue by abrading the surface with a scouring pad and an alkaline degreaser, such as a general purpose cleaner, and rinse with clean running water.


Apply two coats of a grey anti-corrosive metal primer at a spreading rate of 6m2/litre, allowing 4–6 hours drying time between coats.

Note: perform a measle corrosive test to confirm that sufficient primer has been applied.


Apply two coats of water-based, high gloss enamel at 6m2/litre, allowing 4-6 hours drying time between coats.

Note:This has a very good colour retention, non-chalking, non-yellowing and excellent flexibility properties. The life expectancy of this product is approximately 10 years, if the preparation and priming is correctly done. 

Note:The compressor and spray gun cannot be used to apply the above product as you will not attain the correct dry film thickness. This equipment can only be used to apply solvent-based coatings like quick drying primers and quick drying enamels, which will not give you the expected lifespan you require. The job can be done using airless spray equipment.
For more information contact Toni Stella on 082-781-9660 or email

News & Events