SAPMA has appealed to the government to not include biocides with the list of pesticides that require a lengthy and expensive registration process – and which could disrupt paint production.
Biocides form an essential part of the formula for water-based (acrylic) paints, as it prevents bio-deterioration, both in a wet and dry state.
Deryck Spence, executive director of The South African Paint Manufacturers Association (SAPMA), says the inclusion of biocides in paint mix preserves acrylic paints on retailers’ shelves and during any other periods of storage.
“SAPMA’s problem arose when the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) – which is responsible for registration of pesticides in South Africa wanted to include biocides in this registration process which is legalised in terms of the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act No 36 of 1947,” explains Spence.
“To register a pesticide product in South Africa, the producer has to be registered under the Act with DAFF. Pesticides will only be registered if they have proven to be effective, safe and of good quality. However, providing proof is a long, drawn-out process involving analyses reports, independent laboratory tests, biological efficacy data studies, and the provision of reams of other data. To make matters worse, registrations usually take more than a year to complete and are costly”, says Spence.
He says SAPMA’s Technical Committee met with Jonathan Mudzunga, the DAFF Registrar, in Pretoria to point out that at least 80% of water-based paints currently produced in South Africa rely on a biocide in its formulation to prevent rapid deterioration on store shelves. SAPMA also pleaded that producer members faced potential ruin through production hold-ups if they now were forced to register all paint that contains biocides. The construction industry, as well as property owners and paint contractors and retailers, could suddenly face a crippling paint shortage.
“We respectfully informed the Registrar that Australia, where exceptionally strict controls on the contents of paints and coatings are now being applied, does not ban the biocides currently in paint but instead call for tighter controls being placed on their usage.”
Spence reported progress in the negotiations at the recent annual general meeting of SAPMA in Sandton.