News Brief

PFAS Found in Paint but Not on the Ingredient List

According to the Healthy Building Network, the paint you use might contain PFAS compounds, even if they are not disclosed on the ingredient list.

Human-made “forever chemicals”—known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—have a wide range of negative health impacts and have been found in most consumer and building products. Even with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states like Maine trying to regulate them, there are more than 10,000 PFAS compounds, and we still don’t know how many products contain them. A recent report from the Healthy Building Network (HBN) adds one more product to the list of PFAS-containing products: paint.

The report states that HBN tested 94 paint samples from Sherwin-Williams, Valspar, Krylon, Benjamin Moore, Kelly Moore, PPG, Rodda, Behr, Miller, and Rust-Oleum and found that of the 94 paints, “approximately 50% had detectable levels of fluorine, an indicator of PFAS.” The individual products were not listed.

HBN speculates that the fluorine could come from paint surfactants with proprietary ingredients. The small amount of PFAS used means it does not have to be reported, avoiding standard transparency documentation and making it impossible for end users to track. The irony is that these surfactants may have been used in place of hormone-disrupting, persistent alkylphenol ethoxylate (APE) surfactants in a classic case of a “regrettable substitution.”

The report serves as a call to action to keep holding manufacturers accountable for the chemicals they put in our building products and consumer goods.

Published July 10, 2023

Ehrlich, B. (2023, June 27). PFAS Found in Paint but Not on the Ingredient List. Retrieved from

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