Lead Chromate Pigments in Industrial Coatings


Pigment Yellow 34 (Lead sulfochromate yellow) and Pigment Red 104 (lead chromate molybdate sulfate red) have been used in some industrial paints for many years. The introduction of the REACH regulation by the EU raised concerns whether their use would be allowed to continue.
DCC Maastricht BV, representing Dominion Colour Corporation (DCC), has been granted an authorisation under the REACH regulation to place on the market these substances and for these to be used in industrial and professional paints for specified uses for 7 and 4 years respectively. Paints imported or manufactured in the EU that contain the substances must use DCC pigments as only they have been granted the authorisation.

The BCF, as a responsible federation have prepared this note summarising the impact the authorisation will have on industrial paints so that we can use this as part of our communication with our customers by way of introduction.
This note is only a very short summary. You must ensure that you read and follow the full information your current paint manufacturer will be giving you which will run into several pages. If you don’t buy direct from a manufacturer, then your supplier has a legal duty to give you this information. If they don’t please request it from them or speak to Pronto.

Who can buy and/or use paints containing Pigment Yellow 34 and Pigment Red 104?

Only industrial or professional users can buy paints containing these substances where an:
– Industrial user: workers who use chemical products in an industrial site, which can be large or small (2) for example a production line situation.
– Professional users: skilled/trained workers who use chemical products outside an industrial setting (2) for example a professional painter/maintenance worker for non-consumer applications.
It is illegal to sell paints containing these substances to consumers (i.e. the general public) or for the general public to use them.

Where can paints containing these substances be used?

Paints containing these substances can only be used for:

  • Industrial application onto metal surfaces (such as machines, vehicles, structures, signs, road furniture, coil coatings etc)
  • Professional (non-consumer) application of paints on metal surfaces (such as machines, vehicles, structures, signs, road furniture etc) or as road marking

Use is permitted provided that the performance of the pigment in a premix, paint or painted article (eg colour, durability, hiding power, heat stability) is technically achievable only by using that substance and that the performance is necessary for the intended use.

Are there alternatives?

There are no direct weight for weight replacements with identical properties to these substances that is why the authorisations have been granted. Alternatives require compromises in performance, such as durability, opacity and brightness.
Replacement of these substances in paints may be possible in your application, but it may be necessary to adjust for example: application and drying methods and conditions, maintenance programs of painted items, colour selection or to accept some diminution in performance. We recommend you contact your existing supplier about these options if you are interested.


Thanks to the BCF for helping prepare the article. Pronto take responsible use of their products very seriously, so if you have any questions about this subject, don’t hesitate to get in touch.