This is a risk perception bulletin. Powdered paints

Posted on2022-07-08 by

What are powder paints?

Powder paints are mixtures of pigments, resins, curing agents and other additives. The powder is sprayed with a gun that charges the particles. The workpiece is connected to mass so that it electrostatically attracts charged particles from the powder coating, giving the workpiece a relatively thick and uniform coating. The coated workpiece is heated in a furnace to melt and, in the case of thermosetting coatings, to cure the coating.

How can powdered paint affect me?

The solvent content of powder paints is relatively low, at least compared to some liquid-based paint systems. Most powder coating materials are generally classified as low toxicity. However, some powder paints may contain pigments and hardeners with negative health effects, for example:

  • TGIC (Triglycidyl isocyanurate): used in some polyester powder paint systems
  • TMA (tri-mellite anhydride): used in various types of coatings and plastics.
  • Pigments based on lead chromate

Possible serious health effects of powder paints from metallurgical manufacture or production

  • Irritation of the eyes, skin, nose and throat
  • Wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and cough
  • Skin and respiratory sensitisation

Possible chronic health effects of powder paints from metallurgical manufacturing or production

  • Occupational asthma
  • Other

When do workplace exposures occur?


The main source of exposure of workers is inhalation of powdered paint materials, particularly during application with manual spraying to workpieces. Other important sources of exposure are associated handling and distribution of dust, cleaning of paint booths and maintenance and cleaning of spraying equipment.

Skin and subcutaneous tissue

Direct skin and eye contact during these activities is also a concern.

Other potential risks of powder paints

  • Fire or explosion of suspended powder paint materials
  • Electrostatic discharge of workpieces and equipment without grounding
  • Electrical discharge of electrical equipment
  • Risks of handling by lifting and transporting workpieces, raw materials, etc.
  • Risk arising from the operation of pressure systems
  • High temperatures and burns from furnaces, hot surfaces and workpieces

Sectors/applications where workplace exposures may occur

Examples of applications in metal manufacturing and production as well as other industries and processes where people may be exposed to powder coatings:

Metallurgical production, metallurgical manufacturing and related applications

  • Application by spraying powdered paint
  • Cleaning of powder coating equipment

Other applications

  • Manufacture of paints and varnishes

What can I do to help protect workers?

Use appropriate controls

Companies should carry out a risk assessment in addition to determining exposure levels against exposure limits to know what control measures they may need.

If necessary, controls from the control hierarchy should be implemented and their effectiveness measured. For example, localised extraction systems (LEVs) can be highly effective engineering control, used in welding, sanding and many other applications.

Get the equipment you need

In addition to implementing other control measures, personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respiratory protective equipment (PRE), is usually used to minimise exposure of workers.

Respiratory protective equipment (PRE): devices with air purification

3M has a range of EPRs that can help reduce exposure to dust, fog, metal fumes, as well as gases and vapours commonly found in metalworking. For example: disposable particulate masks, reusable half masks and full masks, as well as motorised equipment with air purifier and battery for heavy use combined with a variety of masks, head units and rugged helmets.

Respiratory protective equipment (PRE): devices with an air supply

3M it also has a wide variety of air-supplied equipment, suitable for use in some of the most demanding working environments.

Other PPE

3M it can also provide many other health and safety solutions, such as:

  • Head, face and eye protection
  • Reusable and disposable earplugs and earmuffs
  • Security solutions for communications
  • Disposable clothing
  • Protection against falls
  • Solutions for confined spaces

References and resources

HSE - Reducing risks associated with using coating powders – employers.

HSE Special Specialist powders.

This is the GESTIS Substance Database.

In addition to the above, it is necessary to specify the active substance.

BCF - Powder Coatings Health and Safety.

Hazard Awareness Bulletin