This Resene Whiteboard Paint review covers another product from Australia. Resene are a coatings manufacturer in New Zealand, but their site is Australian so this must be their main market.
This product was actually sent to me by a reader based in Australia. Again, Resene Whiteboard Paint is another product that’s not safe for the home user to apply because it contains isocyanates.
Resene Whiteboard Paint Review
The Resene website has a fairly bad navigation, but once you find the products all the safety sheets are easy to view.
I read through the application guide first and noticed the following:
Do not tightly re-seal left over quantities of mixed product; the mixed product generates carbon dioxide gas, which can cause the lid of a tightly sealed can to pop with force. The volume of gas produced is directly related to the volume of leftover paint. Leave the mixed material uncovered in a safe place for at least 48 hours for outgassing to be completed. After this the cans can be sealed up and disposed of through a Resene PaintWise location or an approved hazard waste site.
I’m now wondering if this is a warning that should be on all the products with isocyanates?!
The rest of the product and application pages would have you believing this is a safe product to apply, without having to take special precautions. This is not the case!
In the MSDS (safety sheet) for hardener the product clearly contains isocyanates. Resene can now be added to the Australian and New Zealand list of products that contain isocyanates:
The Dangers of Applying Resene Whiteboard Paint
Whiteboard products that contain isocyanates can cause damage to your respiratory system if you are not wearing full PPE. They should only be installed by professionals with the right training and equipment. Unfortunately, this is not clearly labelled on most whiteboard paints so you should ask before buying!
Resene whiteboard paint requires major safety precautions, so beware. In Australia strict restrictions apply so again caution is advised. I would ask anyone giving these products to a painter to apply, please tell them about the isocyanates so they can arrange oxygen respirators.
The safety information does not highlight all the dangers of isocyanates though, as we have learned from other products in Australian. Health monitoring must be in place for any worker using products with them. The maximum exposure limit of 15 minutes must be monitored and adhered to. Employers are required to identify alternatives, if possible.
To give Resene credit they have a safety manual on their website here https://www.resene.co.nz/pdf/safety_first.pdf
It even has a section on isocyanates and the dangers and precautions you need to take when using them. Here are some extracts from Resene’s own document:
- The mixing of these paints should be in well ventilated areas with the appropriate respiratory protection worn
- Where TDI( isocyanate) class materials are applied by brush or roller the area shall be well ventilated and ori-nasal canister respirators worn. If there is doubt about the effectiveness of the ventilation then positive pressure air-supplied respirators must be used
- Employer’s responsibilities – The employer must instruct workers on the hazards of working with isocyanate-containing paints and how to use them safely. The employer is also legally required to provide all the necessary safety equipment. They must also provide frequent health checks for employees.
The precautions outlined in the Resene safety sheet should be enough of a warning to anyone not to touch the product. It clearly states not to breathe this product in at all, yet this information is nowhere to be found on the product page or application guide. The safety sheet clearly states that you should “not breathing dust, fume, gas, mist, vapours or spray” from this product. I’d like my lungs to keep functioning as normal, thank you very much!
It’s not great that just opening the tin and mixing part A and B could put you in hospital. That’s the risk Resene are asking you to take with their product though!
Have you tried painting anything and managed not to get some paint on you? I’ve rolled a few of these products on to walls now, and you will always get particles of the paint on your clothes and skin. It’s impossible to avoid! It’s very concerning, then, that Resene tells you to do the impossible and highlights how dangerous this is!
Resene is just another product parading as being safe for everyone to use, when, in fact, this 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 think it’s necessary to buy a whiteboard paint like this 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) where Isocyanates are being used. They 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:
A business using any paint with isocyanates must measure and ensure that a worker is 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.
Where risks to health and safety cannot be eliminated the hierarchy of controls must be applied in accordance with cl. 36 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 to minimise risks. 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.