Rather than try a friend’s recommendation (or the cheapest option on the market!), this time I thought I would do the research myself. Enter Bulgarian startup Escreo UK with their Whiteboard Paint. They have a 4.6 rating on Trustpilot, the products are presented well on their website with impressive marketing flair and their whiteboard wall paints are used by some recognisable companies.
In particular, I found their website really easy to use, but the fun ended there…
Escreo Review Summary
Because this got so long and complicated I’m going to summarise the main points. You can read on for the full review.
- Serious inaccuracies in the technical info and advice (see correspondence with Escreo below)
- Misleading marketing (targeted to home and education when it contains specialist chemical not suitable for home or DIY use)
- Requires professional installation due to specialist chemicals
- UK / EU requires a Risk Assessment and Method Statement before use in a workplace
- Potentially highly dangerous to the public who unwittingly install it without doing so safely
- Sale of products containing these chemicals is supposed to be to professionals only
Read my other reviews here:
Read the Full Review if You Have the Stomach for It…
The first red flag came up when it came time to do the installation. My painter friend John, who I quiz for advice on the technical aspects of my reviews, noticed the products contained isocyanates. He said these were a serious hazard and I should not install this as they can only be done by a certified professional.
I reached out to Green monkey, their UK seller, and asked if this was correct. Unfortunately I didn’t get a reply so I reached out directly to Escreo. They replied quickly and assured me the isocyanates they use were not harmful and I did not need to be professional to install the product.
Now this was all new to me as, admittedly, I don’t know much about paint but as soon as I started to research isocyanates it was obvious this was serious stuff. It’s a highly regulated chemical.
To my shock I discovered it was so serious that, here in the UK and most of the EU, it requires a risk assessment and method statement to be carried out before use in a workplace. Even with that it needed specialist safety gear for installation such as an air feed breathing unit if spraying! I kid you not… I was totally shocked. I thought seriously this has to be a mistake.
This is where this review got all scary…. Who knew whiteboard paint could be white knuckle stuff!
- Sold to professionals only
- Safety Assessments must be done prior to use
- Breathing in isocyanates from paint can cause asthma, shortness of breath, and dizziness
- Using even for short term exposures can cause serious harm such as cancers
- Isocyanates can cause skin allergies and dermatitis by skin contact
At this point I decided not to continue with the review until I got further clarity from Escreo. I didn’t find their Twitter reply telling me the isocyanates they used were harmless to be credible, given what I had researched at this point. But maybe they were using some new magic isocyanates…
So I decided to reach out directly to them to find out what was really going on.
This is where the review took a darker turn, after I highlighted my concerns directly to the Escreo boss, he told there was nothing harmful in the paint and to just get another installer… seriously I couldn’t believe this!
Here’s our conversation…
There is no clear mention on their site of how hazardous and potentially dangerous the paint is if not handled properly.
Low and behold their MSDS sheet specifically says “FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY” and highlights some of the safety clothing needed. Cynically this was nowhere on their website and it was only that John was able to get a copy that I was able to view it. I want to be fair but I feel this is not right. I thought I should outline this to them and ask about what is on their own spec sheet, but not clearly stated anywhere else.
This wasn’t a satisfactory answer. You have to put these precautions on the spec sheet if the ingredients require it. There are products out there that don’t have any of these precautions because their ingredients are safe. I think it might have dawned on Iskren that he’s been caught in a lie.
I keep coming back to the fact that the spec sheet for the hardener is not on the website. Why? To me they are clearly trying to hide the fact that it’s unsafe for the general user.
I wanted to follow up with them to give them a chance to set the record straight. I’m all up for startups and people giving it a go so I reach out again to give them that opportunity.
What the Spec Sheets Say
They state this product is eco friendly but there was nothing to back this up on the page. I couldn’t find any eco credentials but the safety sheet is readily available. The first thing that jumped out at me was For professional use only. However this is only the safety sheet for the paint.
I’m fairly shocked that they are allowed to market this the way they do. For example “do it yourself”, “eco friendly”, and “home use” are misleading. The installation guide contains nothing about the real precautions necessary for this product.
What’s even more suspect is the fact that the spec sheet for the hardener is not available on their site! This is the one that contains the toxic ingredients, yet it’s nowhere to be found online. What does that tell you?
As I said, John flagged that this product is restricted for sale to professionals because one of the ingredients is an isocyanate. In the UK, professionals are required to do a written risk assessment before install of these harmful ingredients. All this is available on the spec sheet for the hardener, which itself is unavailable on Escreo’s website.
I have uploaded the spec sheet for Escreo’s hardener here.
Anyone using this product must:
- Be a professional
- Identify the project specific risks to human health the use of the isocyanate poses and complete a written risk assessment
- Wear PPE covering all skin such as gloves, eye protection, and overalls
- If spraying wear oxygen fed suit – Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
- Proper ventilation of the workspace for roller or brush application
Based on the health and safety concern, my painter and I decided we couldn’t use the product so I couldn’t review the dry erase performance.
Final piece of advice for those willing to push ahead with installing this product. Get a professional to install and to be fair to them make them aware of the Isocyanates as its not immediately obvious. If they are installing in your home they can use this product to detect the level of isocyanates in the air to make installation safer. Maybe Escreo would consider adding one to the kit to make it safer to use…
At the time of publishing Escreo had still not replied. I’m happy to publish a response if I do hear and I’ll let you all know.