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Testing and certification of paints and lacquers

Testing and certification of paints and lacquers | TÜV Rheinland

Proof of quality paints and lacquers thanks to our demanding testing and certification

Paints, lacquers and glazes often contain solvents and other potentially hazardous substances. Allergy sufferers and health-conscious consumers in particular pay close attention to product ingredients and make purchasing decisions dependent on warnings and content information. With our independent and globally recognized test marks, you can create a real competitive advantage and make it easier for customers to choose your product.

We test and certify your products with regard to health and environmental aspects on the basis of our specially developed criteria catalogues. Our services are conducted in accordance with legal requirements, including the German Hazardous Substances Regulation (Gefahrstoffverordnung, GefStoffV), the European CLP Regulation (EU Regulation 1272/2008), and the European Directive on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic solvents from paints and lacquers. Our experts examine the ingredients of your products for potential pollutants, such as heavy metals, plasticizers and preservatives. We measure emissions to ensure that the effects of chemicals used in your products are harmless and in compliance with regulatory statutes.

With our various test marks, you can prove the high quality of your paints and lacquers as well as prove specific product aspects, such as the absence of preservatives. Our testing and certification give you a clear competitive advantage in the markets of your choice.

Find out more about the testing and certification of paints and lacquers!

Competitive advantage with our independent paint and lacquer testing

Paint and lacquer testing | TÜV Rheinland

Our testing and certification of paints and lacquers ensure that your product meets relevant legal requirements to protect consumer health. In addition, you minimize possible risks in the use of your products and thereby reduce potential hazards to people and the environment. With the proof provided by our neutral and recognized test mark, you strengthen confidence among your customers and business partners alike. You provide a clear orientation guide and positively influence customers who place value on low-risk paints and lacquers when making their purchase decision.

Our tests and certifications for paints and lacquers

Our experts examine your products in independent and modern laboratories at locations around the world for possible health hazards arising from the presence or release of chemical substances. We provide the certifications you need to prove the quality and safety of your paints and lacquers.

Services offered as part of our paint and lacquer testing include:

  • Emission test
  • Determination of the preservative content
  • Harmful ingredients check
  • Selected product properties testing
  • Certification with corresponding test marks
  • Review of labeling in accordance with biocide and hazardous substances legislation

Expert paint and lacquers testing

Our experts provide reliable support in all areas relating to the testing and certification of paints and lacquers. Benefit from our globally recognized test marks and show your customers that your products comply with legal requirements and market expectations.

Questions and answers on paints and lacquers

Frequently asked questions about correct labeling, purchase criteria and safe handling of paints and lacquers.

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What ingredients do paints and lacquers contain?

Paints, lacquers and other coating agents consist of four basic groups of components: Binders, solvents (or thinners), pigments and fillers, and additives.

• Binders
Binders anchor a coating to the substrate and bind the pigment particles together. They determine essential product properties such as weather resistance, adhesion and robustness.

• Solvents
Solvents ensure the appropriate processing consistency of paints and lacquers. Because they can have a strong impact on the environment and health, increasingly more solvent-free products are entering the market.

• Pigments/fillers
Pigments and fillers determine the color and covering power of the coating. They can be of both natural and synthetic origin. Fillers also affect other properties such as processability and curing of the products.

• Additives
Additives such as fillers and preservatives are added to the paint to influence the processing, technical properties, appearance, or haptics.

What information about contained substances must be displayed on the label?

• Name of the substance or composition

• Components with potential danger

• All necessary hazard symbols and designations

• Information on special dangers and safety advice

Which product components are harmful to health?

Components and ingredients that are harmful to health include:

• Preservatives

Preservatives are always necessary if water-based products such as emulsion paints are to be stored for a long time, or if certain surfaces are to be protected from mold and bacteria by applying paint. Biocides from the active substance group of isothiazolinones, which are potentially harmful to health, are used for these purposes. Natural paints in powder form and certain emulsion paints are available without preservatives.

• Solvents

Solvents can be used in paints and lacquers to dissolve or dilute them, to produce processing consistency, to improve surface smoothness, to reduce surface tension, and to act as cleaning agents. All solvents, including those in natural paints, may be harmful to human health. So-called volatile organic compounds (VOC) are released into ambient air in the form of emissions or vapors.

• Heavy metals

In addition to binding agents and thinners, paints and lacquers applied to plasters, metal or wooden surfaces contain pigments as an essential component. Some may contain heavy metals that are harmful to human and environmental health. Lead is often used for rust protection paints (white and yellow). Cadmium can be a component of bright plastic paints, while chromium compounds can be found in paints and wood preservatives. Mercury is sometimes used in wood preservatives and zinc powder can be an essential component of light-colored paints and lacquers.

• Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Volatile organic compounds are contained, for example, in the form of solvents or biocides in paints, lacquers and glazes. Large quantities of VOCs escape into the ambient air due to evaporation and drying. Concentrations that are harmful to health can occur immediately after construction and extensive renovation work, as well as in the event of improper processing and massive use of unsuitable products. Our emission testing and certification enable consumers to recognize and choose products and materials with low VOC emissions.

How must paints and lacquers be labeled for market?

As a manufacturer or marketer, you should observe the following laws and regulations for the labeling of your products:

• Labeling and declaration of the ingredients used (VdL guideline 01)

In its VdL Guideline 01, the Association of the German Paint and Printing Ink Industry (VdL) mandates the declaration of paints, lacquers, glazes, plasters, and fillers as well as related products in technical data sheets for both interior and exterior use. The guideline focuses on both the labeling of ingredients for ready-to-use products and the avoidance of adverse health effects as early as the product development stage.

• Hazard statements (CLP Regulation/GHS Regulation)

The European CLP Regulation regulates the classification, labeling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures. Dangerous substances and mixtures, such as solvents or construction chemicals, must comply with the CLP Regulation in Europe since 1. June 2015 and should be labeled accordingly. The CLP pictograms are diamond-shaped and contain a black symbol with a red frame. With the CLP Regulation, the European Union has implemented the recommendations of the United Nations on the so-called Globally Harmonized System (GHS), which harmonizes the classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals worldwide.

• Solvent-based paints and lacquers regulation (ChemVOCFarbV)

ChemVOCFarbV is applicable to certain products, such as paints and lacquers used to coat buildings, their components and decorative elements, as well as refinish vehicles. The regulation stipulates that these products must be labeled with the following VOC content information before they are placed on the market:

a) the category of the ready-to-use product and the corresponding limit values for volatile organic compounds (VOC)

b) the maximum volatile organic compound (VOC) g/l content of the ready-to-use product.

What do consumers pay attention to when making a purchase?

Consumers are increasingly taking environmental and health aspects into account when making purchasing decisions, and are becoming more aware of the risks involved when handling paints and lacquers.

Manufacturers and retailers should therefore ensure that the following criteria are met:

• Avoidance of product components that are harmful to the environment and human health

• A complete declaration of the ingredients on labels and leaflets

• Labeling of hazardous substances (according to CLP and ChemVOCFarbV)

• Consumer information on safe handling, proper storage and correct disposal

• Certification, quality proof, and product testing for pollutants and emissions by independent test centers and experts

• Professional advice to help customers select the right products for the desired application

Which products are particularly suitable for allergy sufferers?

Because allergies can be triggered by individual components and materials, it is particularly important to provide sufferers full details of the ingredients used. People with allergies should select products that are free of preservatives and solvents. Products that have a high pH value to kill mold spores and bacteria are also beneficial.

If a product contains allergenic substances in a concentration above the nominal limit, the VdL requires a full declaration of ingredients and the establishment of an allergy advice service in the form of a hotline or an information section.

According to the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances, which operating instructions should be listed on paints and lacquers?

The following instructions should be available on solvent-based paints and lacquers:

  • Information on hazards to humans and the environment
  • Protective measures and rules of conduct
  • Information on how to behave in case of danger
  • First aid instructions
  • Information on proper disposal

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