Looking for Lead-Based Paint

Monday, July 28th, 2014

On a lark, I started a search for some real lead-based paint.

I recall vividly during our RRP training that lead-based paint is out there and still being used. In fact, paint can still be manufactured with lead for industrial applications or residential use as long as it does not exceed .06% or 60 PPM.

So off I went to my local paint vendors and manufacturers of industrial coatings…no luck. I thought I would try our local train manufacturer, Motive Power…no luck. Then I tried the highway district…no luck. They stated that it was good stuff, but have not used it in 20 years. I swear, I recall that the yellow in the painted asphalt lines was leaded… not so.

I even spoke with an old friend of mine in the steel erection business who reports that lead paint is no longer used. On and on my search went…without any luck.

Finally, I spoke with an industrial paint manufacturer. He seemed to be a genuine fossil of the industry. He recalls making many thousands of gallons of it for the military. It was orange and used as primer for ships. It was good stuff. The Golden Gate Bridge, which I thought for sure was leaded, is not, according to him. He says “…that no one is willing to deal with the regulations and safety concerns. The industry has found adequate alternatives to using lead.”

My source spent some time as a consultant to Chinese manufacturing operations overseas and was stunned to see that they are using leaded paint today.
He reported that there was tons of it all over the place – specifically, yellow and orange. Further, he said that the people doing the work were oblivious to the dangers. In fact, he said that their belief was that the lead was in the solvents they were using so they were cutting back on the solvents. He also said that we should be suspicious about everything coming out of China especially anything orange or yellow and therefore green too.

The bottom line – while we in the United States can still use a limited amount of lead in our paint manufacturing processes, I could not find anyone in the industry that is. If you know anyone that is manufacturing lead-based Paint, please let me know.