A Middle East Push for Greener Paints
Safer architectural paints and coatings should accompany the construction boom in the Arab world, Abu Dhabi officials have announced in unveiling a new certification program.
The United Arab Emirates capital has launched an "Exterior and Interior Paints Conformity Scheme" to test and certify paint products for compliance to safety and environmental performance standards.
The need for such a program is "imperative, given the prevalence of paints in the UAE that continue to carry toxic heavy metals and high levels of VOC," announced the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC), which developed the scheme.
The council, established in 2009 by the president of the UAE, is responsible for the development of quality infrastructure, which enables industry and regulators to ensure that products, systems and personnel can be tested and certified to UAE and international standards.
The new program aims to identify lead and heavy metals content in paints, as well as eco-friendly paint products that release low toxic emissions.
The voluntary program, developed with regulators and industry, enables suppliers of exterior and interior paints to obtain certification of products that meet the Abu Dhabi specifications.
Those specs incorporate "the European Union regulation for paints, which contribute to improvements in key environmental aspects, and the material emissions requirements published by Estidama," the council said.
The Estidama program is a sustainability initiative (Estidama is an Arabic word meaning sustainability) developed and promoted by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC).
12 Types of Paints
The new certification scheme calls out 12 types of exterior and interior paints, varnishes and stains, including products for interior and exterior walls and trim, performance coatings, primers and decorative effect coatings.
The scheme is a collaboration between the QCC, the Estidama program, and the Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi (EAD).
"A key objective of EAD's is to ensure that the air quality of Abu Dhabi is in line with the health and safety of our population," said Dr. Mohammed Al Madfaei, executive director of the Integrated Environment Policy and Planning Sector, EAD.
|The National / Sarah Dea|
The paint program meets Abu Dhabi's "priority to ensure the well-being of consumers and the environment as a whole," said Abdulla Hassan Al Muaini, executive director of Conformity Scheme Services for QCC.
"With the type of development across Abu Dhabi's construction sector, it is important we continue to make progress in improving indoor and outdoor air quality and the Interior and Exterior Paints Conformity Program is a critical step towards ensuring healthier homes, schools and workplaces," Al Madfaei said.
Trustmark for Environmental Performance
The paint program is the latest addition to the "Trustmark for Environmental Performance," Abu Dhabi's certification program that ensures the compliance of products to safety, environmental and sustainability performance standards.
Paint manufacturers will have an opportunity to obtain voluntary certification to authenticate their conformity to the UAE's safety and environmental quality criteria. The certification also endorses the paint product as compliant with the Estidama program.
Manufacturers and suppliers seeking the Trustmark for Environmental Performance must have their products tested and verified by an internationally accredited laboratory when applying for the certification.
"The certification ensures that these products are embedded with features that enhance safety, sustainability and performance standards," said Abdulla Hassan Al Muaini, executive director of Conformity Scheme Services for QCC.
"We continuously seek to launch schemes that meet Abu Dhabi's priority to ensure the wellbeing of consumers and the environment as a whole. The Environmental Trustmark also enables consumers to make educated choices and opt for certified environmentally sustainable products."