It’s been a while since I’ve looked at one of these products! I was sent a few potential whiteboard paints to review from Australia and South Africa, so I thought I’d add them to the mix. Unfortunately, all of these new products I’ve been sent contain the same toxins (isocyanates) as the previous whiteboard paint reviews.
Bunnings Whiteboard Paint Review
Everything in this Bunnings Whiteboard Paint review is available from the product safety sheet!
In the MSDS (safety sheet) for hardener they explicitly state that this product is for “use only outdoors or well ventilated area.” Looking at the Bunnings Whiteboard Paint, you would think it was perfectly safe to apply without having to take major precautions! Hmmmm… this is not what I would expect from a retailer with a reputation like Bunnings.
Firstly, I think it’s good to answer a simple question.
Is Whiteboard Paint Toxic?
Yes, some whiteboard paints are toxic and should not be installed if you are not a professional. Many whiteboard products contain isocyanates which will attack your respiratory system if you are not wearing full PPE. It is not clearly labelled on most whiteboard paints so you should ask before buying!
Before I get into the details of the Bunnings Whiteboard Paint review, here are some of the whiteboard paints available in Australia and South Africa that contain isocyanates:
Bunnings Whiteboard Paint
Resene (South Africa)
Vicinity (South Africa)
These require major safety precautions so beware. Some whiteboard paint products from South Africa have different safety requirements, as there is not as much regulation of isocyanates there. In Australia strict restrictions apply. Caution is advised! I would ask anyone giving these products to a painter to apply to please tell them about the isocyanates. This way they can arrange oxygen respirators before using.
Here is my list of reviews of the best whiteboard paints in Australia:
Bunnings Whiteboard Paint
Below is one of the most concerning aspects of the A&I Coatings Whiteboard Paint safety sheet.
I’ve applied other whiteboard paint products and, unless you’re watching yourself back on a timelapse, it’s not possible to apply it in less than 15 minutes, let alone 60mins! When applying this product you will very likely go over this exposure limit. In my experience it’s a two hour job depending on the area you are painting. Imagine a large area like an office. It could take a painter the whole day.
In addition they clearly state that you should “avoid breathing dust, fume, gas, mist, vapours or spray” from this product. Not great if you are looking to stay healthy!
The simple fact is that the Bunnings Whiteboard Paint product is not suitable for use by DIY users. In fact, most painters should be concerned about using a paint like this. It contains controlled substances and requires professional handling. I don’t it’s necessary for a whiteboard paint when there are safer options on the market.
The Technical Background on Hexamethylene Diisocyanate (Isocyanates) in Australia
Australia has strict regulations regarding the use of isocyanates and precautions required. This applies not just to whiteboard paints, but to any paints or chemicals containing isocyanates.
The main points relate to PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) and if isocyanates are being used. PCBUs are required to provide health monitoring to workers if there is a significant risk to the worker’s health because of exposure to a hazardous chemical listed in schedule 14 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (cl. 368).
For exposure monitoring:
Businesses using paint containing isocyanates must measure the amount of airborne chemicals. They are responsible for ensuring workers safety. This means ensuring they are not exposed to airborne chemicals above the workplace exposure standard. Isocyanates have a workplace exposure standard of 0.02 mg/m3 averaged over eight hours and a short term exposure standard of 0.07 mg/m3 averaged over 15 minutes. Isocyanates are classified as a sensitiser and some individual isocyanates are further classified as suspected of causing cancer.
In relation to health monitoring, PCBU (cl. 369 to 378) duties include:
- informing workers of the requirements for health monitoring
- using a registered medical practitioner with experience in occupational health monitoring
- providing details to the medical practitioner
- obtaining a copy of the health monitoring report
- providing a copy of the health monitoring report to SafeWork NSW if the worker has developed a disease or injury and/or the report contains any recommendations on remedial measures at the workplace
- keeping records of health monitoring for 30 years.
The hierarchy of controls must be applied in accordance with cl.36 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 where risks to health and safety cannot be eliminated. For instance:
- Where practicable, substitute isocyanate containing or liberating products with an alternate material.
- Ensure adequate engineering controls (e.g. local exhaust ventilation, automated processes or spray booths) are in place.
- Use appropriate tools or personal protective equipment to avoid skin contact with isocyanate containing chemicals.
- Use well maintained and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as full-face respirators, overalls, safety goggles and chemical-resistant gloves including a program to correctly fit, instruct on the use and ensure regular maintenance of PPE.
- Ensure safety equipment is available (e.g. eyewash and showers).
Ensure that instructions and controls outlined in SDS and product labels are followed and that workers are provided with suitable information, training, instruction and supervision when using, storing and handling hazardous chemicals (cl. 39 and 379).
PCBUs with duties under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 must review and revise control measures, as necessary, to maintain a work environment so far as is reasonably practicable, that is without risk to health or safety (cl. 38).
PCBU’s should source isocyanate free alternatives if possible.
You can find more useful information and the rules around isocyanates here: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/guide-handling-isocyanates
These chemicals are only supposed to be sold to, and used in, a professional environment.