European Artists'|Colours Association

A sector group of CEPE

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About us

To Represent

Represent the non-commercial collective interests of the members in such a way that the continuity and the success of the members' companies are ensured.

To Advocate

Advocate ‘one message’ on behalf of the members in cases where this continuity or success could be in danger or be negatively influenced.

To Promote

Promote in an impartial way the image of the sector.


What we work for

For Issues

Official rules or regulations that need addressing (chemicals, product handling or packaging and transport) for consumers’ and artists’ protection

For Initiatives

Industry proposals for good working practices

For Standards

Undisputed test methods or requirements that maintain a level playing field for all members

Main Tasks

We have a wide range of tasks.

Encourage behaviour

Encourage adherence to the code of conduct (accountable behaviour on safety, health and the environment) amongst the members.

Sector's Agenda

Determine the sector’s “agenda” for the coming years and take ownership for the agreed items.

Define and address the issues

Define the strategy, develop ‘one message’ and ensure the provision of resources to tackle the issues of the sector “agenda”.

Organize consultation

Organize the consultation of the member companies that do not participate directly in the activities of the sector group.

Organise participations

Organise the participation of company representatives for the relevant meeting bodies, including the sector’s own business and technical groups but also other CEPE working groups and similar associations outside Europe.

AC meetings

Organize an AC annual meeting, that acts as a forum for all the industry players to share results and give input for next year’s actions, and technical committee meetings addressing relevant regulatory issues and voluntary actions.


Representatives of the following companies have approved the Mission Statement and the Code of Conduct for Members of the EU Sector Group “Artists’ Colours”

Artists' Colours Documents

Information note

Safe Products for Your Customers

29 September 2009

TSD Duties and Impact

Artists’ Colours Products

29 September 2009

CEPE Guidance

Communication on Sensitising Biocides for Artists' Colours

Code of Conduct


15 May 2007

Best practice

in the handling and disposal of waste Artists’ Colours and their packaging

September 2017

Finding a Pragmatic Solution

Interview of Ronald Benning, Chairman EuACA, in European Coatings Journal

Drawing on an active Approach

Interview of Nils Knappe, former Chairman EuACA, in European Coatings Journal

click on the icons to download the relevant PDF

CEPE Guidance

Communication on sensitising biocides for Artists’ Colours

Many products used by consumers require in-can preservation against bacteria, yeasts and fungi. A number of these biocides and other preservatives are also used in water-based paints, printing inks and artists’ colours. There has been considerable media interest in the use of methyl isothiazolinone (MIT) following high increases in the numbers of allergic reactions reported by clinics in several countries. Whilst the use of MIT in cosmetics may be the principal cause of skin sensitisation, the presence of MIT in paints and other products could be sufficient to cause an allergic response in already sensitised individuals.

The use of MIT in cosmetics is being reviewed, and much lower limits and/or restrictions in certain types of products are expected. This should reduce the numbers of new cases of sensitisation, but there will still be a significant population already sensitised to MIT. One of the criticisms of the paint industry has been that the presence of MIT in consumer paints is not mentioned. The levels currently used are below the legal requirements for labelling, yet still high enough to be of concern for affected individuals. As a consequence, and also in order to avert possible future restrictions or legislative controls, CEPE has issued guidance on labelling of decorative paints to inform consumers about the presence of skin sensitising biocides.

Voluntary labelling is not a viable option for artists’ colours, since the small package sizes typically used do not permit space on the label for additional statements. Nonetheless CEPE is committed to ensuring safe use of its members’ products and recognizes that manufacturers of artists’ colours may also receive queries about sensitising biocides. The Artists’ Colours Technical Committee and Sector Group have therefore agreed to communicate an appropriate warning via their company websites or other documentation. The following standard text is recommended for this communication:
If untreated, water-based products provide an environment for growth of microorganisms which can both impair the product and cause adverse health effects.

Water-based artists’ materials therefore contain biocides as preservatives, including (but not exclusively) those from the family of chemicals known as izothiazolinones. Biocides can cause allergic skin reactions in individuals who are already sensitized to them, even at levels below current legal thresholds for warnings on the label. People who know they suffer from such allergies should exercise care and take suitable precautions when handling any water-based art material or other product.


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