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25 November 2022

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The SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA) has advised  members that SAPMA’s long struggle to eliminate leaded paint in SA has taken a “most positive step forward” with the government acquiring handheld XRF (X-ray fluorescence) analysers to use for the detection of lead in paint at various ports of entry throughout South Africa.

Tara Benn, Executive Director of SAPMA, says the association has for many years been working with the government’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment and also the Department of Health on revising the current Lead in Paint Regulation from the Hazardous Substance Act of 1973 (Act 15 of 1973).  “We have for long been part of technical committees and supported and guided the department from a technical perspective on the revising of the National Lead in Paint Regulation as well as various other aspects affecting the coatings sector in relation to this regulation,” she states.

Benn says SAPMA has also been part of a committee of “Subject Matter Experts”, assisting in formalising and revising the leaded paint regulation and is therefore most appreciative that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment and the Department of Health have now procured a total of eight handheld XRF analysers for testing lead content in paint, produced both locally as well as imported into SA. The analysers will be sent to and used at priority ports of entry to help enforce the proposed new regulation in SA.

“The XRF analysers will be used by Port Health Officials at ports of entry to identify and screen imported paint products for the presence of elevated levels of lead in paint.  The XRF analysers are most cost-effective equipment which need minimal training for the users.  The spectrometers are light, compact and their results are available within seconds of being used. Any products that are suspected of non-compliance with the lead content, showing an excess of the revised regulation limits, will then be sent for in-depth testing at an accredited laboratory in SA. This is a major step forward to ban leaded paint in South Africa,” Benn adds.

She thanked the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, and the Department of Health, for their commitment to the implementation of the National Lead in Paint Regulation and for purchasing these handheld analysers.  “It is only through such initiatives that we can ensure paint manufactured in South Africa, as well as coatings imported into our country, comply with the new and revised regulation to protect health and the environment,” Benn concluded.

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