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PPG: No Lead in Any Products by 2020

Monday, April 25, 2016

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In its newly released sustainability report, PPG announced that it plans to completely phase out the use of lead in its products by 2020.

The company’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday (April 21) in Pittsburgh was marked by questions from a public-health activist organization on the lead topic, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

In response, PPG’s president, Michael McGarry, referenced the company’s 2015 Sustainability Report, published the same day, which addresses PPG’s schedule for going completely lead-free.

Pittsburgh, headquarters of PPG
Zack Weinberg - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pittsburgh-based PPG is phasing out lead in all of its products in the next four years, according to its recently published 2015 Sustainability Report.

The company says it does not currently include lead in any consumer products. Lead-based paints have been banned in residential applications in the U.S. since 1978.

Targeting Specialty Industrial Coatings

“I think it’s important to clarify PPG does not use lead in consumer products anywhere in the world,” notes Mark Silvey, PPG’s senior manager of corporate communications. “Where consumers or our partners are walking into stores and using those paints to paint residential buildings, there is no lead in those products.”

“From the perspective of what we’re eliminating: It’s a very finite number of products in our product portfolio that still contain any lead,” Silvey says. “By 2020 we’ll be eliminating all lead from our entire portfolio.”

The coatings that still contain lead are specific industrial applications, like certain aerospace coatings, Silvey says.


During the company's annual shareholder's meeting, PPG president and chief executive Michael McGarry fielded questions from a public-health activist organization regarding the presence of lead in the company's paint products.

The PPG Sustainability Report notes that in 2015, the company “established a goal to eliminate lead from remaining non-consumer coatings formulations by 2020. We plan to report on our progress in eliminating lead from this limited number of formulations in our annual corporate sustainability report, beginning with the 2016 report.”

The company also points out: “We have proactively eliminated lead from new formulations for a number of years.”

After PPG revealed its plan to eliminate lead completely, Perry Gottesfeld, the Occupational Knowledge International activist who questioned McGarry at Thursday’s meeting, told the Post-Gazette: “This is a big reversal. I think it’s an excellent move.”

Sustainability Progress

Elsewhere in the sustainability report, PPG notes that it has exceeded many of its previous 2020 sustainability goals, and is on track to meet several others.

The company is increasing its goals for sustainable product sales, greenhouse gas reduction, spill reduction and several other metrics.

PPG operates in more than 70 countries with a team of approximately 46,600 employees. The company reported net sales of $15.3 billion in 2015.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Business matters; Coating Materials; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Industry News; Latin America; Lead; Lead rule; North America; PPG; Sustainability

Comment from Daniel Savage, (4/25/2016, 3:37 PM)

just curious what PPG defines as "lead free" since it is naturally a part of many mined constituents ?

Comment from Michael Breaux, (4/26/2016, 3:56 PM)

I'm assuming that they intend to meet the current definition of lead-free paint from 16 CFR 1303 (0.009% by weight) for their industrial products in addition to their consumer goods. Doesn't directly address any OSHA related requirements for worker exposure.

Comment from Fred Salome, (4/28/2016, 12:49 AM)

The definition of lead paint varies between different jurisdictions. In Australia the maximum allowable concentration of lead is 0.1% by weight of dry paint. I would also like to see if PPG propose a single definition to cover what they regard as lead-free paint worldwide.

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