Delaware became the first state in the US to restrict lead in paint and similar surface coating materials for outdoor structures. The new law will be implemented in phases, starting January 1, 2020.

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On August 29, 2018, the governor of Delaware signed into law ‘HB 456 [1]’ to restrict lead-containing paint on outdoor structures. The new measures amend the Delaware Code [2] relating to the use of lead-containing paint on these products.

According to the new law, lead paint and outdoor structures have the following definitions:


  • Lead paint means paint containing lead or lead compounds and in which the lead is in excess of 90 ppm by weight of the total non-volatile content of the paint or the weight of the dried paint film.
  • Outdoor structure means any man-made permanent or semi-permanent structure or assemblage of parts, some or all of the surface of which is exposed to rain, snow, sunlight, humidity, or other outdoor forces of nature. These include bridges, water towers, pipes, playground equipment, highways, parking lots, guard rails, and poles or towers used in transmission of telephones, internet or electric power.

There are two effective dates for these lead-containing paints:

  • January 1, 2020 for new use or application
  • January 1, 2024 for any use or application that occurred before January 1, 2020.

Highlights of the new law are summarized in Table 1.

Volume Chapter 81:396 ((HB 456 (149th General Assembly))
An Act to Amend Titles 14, 16, 17, 26 and 29 of the Delaware Code Relating to the Use of Lead Paints and Outdoor Structures

Effective Date
Paint for outdoor structures
≤ 90 ppm
  • January 1, 2020 for new use
  • January 1, 2024 for any use that occurred before January 1, 2020

Table 1.

It is important to note that the scope of the new law in Delaware is beyond the scope of the federal law on lead in paint, 16 CFR 1303 ‘Ban of Lead-Containing Paint and Certain Consumer Products Bearing Lead-Containing Paint’. Under 16 CFR 1303 [3], lead is restricted to no more than 90 ppm in the following:

  • Paint and similar surface-coating materials for consumer use
  • Toys and articles intended for children
  • (Certain) furniture articles for consumer use
  • Products that are used or enjoyed by consumers after sale, such as paints used in residences, schools, hospitals, parks, playgrounds, and public buildings or other areas where consumers will have direct access to the painted surface.

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy, for lead in paint and similar surface coating materials for the US and international markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Next step:

Stakeholders are advised to comply with the latest requirements for paint and similar surface coating materials for outdoor structures for Delawarean market.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

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