Researchers from the University of Bayreuth who analysed two typical dispersion paints have discovered a large number of solid particles that can harm living organisms.
Dispersion paints are mostly used in households for painting walls and ceilings. An interdisciplinary research team from the University of Bayreuth has now analysed the chemical composition of two typical dispersion paints and discovered a large number of solid particles in them which are only a few micro- or nanometers in size.
Studies on biological test systems showed that these particles can harm living organisms. Using a novel membrane developed at the University of Bayreuth, these particles can be filtered out of water before they enter the environment.
What’s in dispersion paints?
The Bayreuth study on the ingredients of dispersion paints and their possible effects on living organisms has been published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.
It is based on close interdisciplinary networking in Collaborative Research Center 1357 ‘Microplastics’ at the University of Bayreuth.
The scientists selected two commercially available dispersion paints that are frequently used in households. These differ primarily in their dripping properties, because they were developed for wall painting on the one hand and ceiling painting on the other.
The two paints have a solids content of 49 and 21 percent by weight, respectively, while the organic content is 57 and seven percent by weight.
The microparticles and nanoparticles found in the paint are silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide and calcium carbonate, alongside particles of various kinds of plastic, especially polyacrylate.
‘Many of these tiny particles enter the environment, for example, through abrasion of the paint layers or weathering. Our study now shows that when brushes, rollers, scrapers and buckets used in painting walls and ceilings are cleaned by washing out paint residues, the particles from the dispersion paints can end up in wastewater and thus also in the environment.
‘The impact on the environment needs to be thoroughly investigated, which is all the more urgent given the worldwide spread of dispersion paints and their diverse material compositions. That is why we have not limited ourselves to the chemical analysis of paint components, but have also investigated their effects on living organisms and cells.’
PROF. DR ANDREAS GREINER
Deputy spokesman of the Collaborative Research Center ‘Microplastics’
Effects on living organisms
For their research, the Bayreuth scientists selected two test systems that have been well established in research: water fleas of the species Daphnia magna and a line of mouse cells.
The water fleas were tested according to OECD guidelines for the testing of chemicals, which considers the mobility of the organisms.
It was found that the mobility of the water fleas was significantly reduced when the water contained a high proportion of dissolved and undissolved inorganic nanoplastic and microplastic particles.