Due to health concerns, Singapore will outlaw formaldehyde in interior paints starting in 2026

According to Minister of Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, Singapore will outlaw the addition of formaldehyde to paints used for interior building painting starting in 2026 (Mar 4, Monday). Currently, the substance is utilized as a preservative in certain paints to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. It is capable of being released into the atmosphere and building up inside.  During her ministry’s budget debate in parliament, Ms. Fu stated, “Long-term exposure to formaldehyde can lead to negative health effects, such as respiratory discomfort and an increased risk of certain cancers.”


The National Environment Agency (NEA) stated in a press release issued after Ms. Fu’s declaration that long-term exposure may raise the risk of asthma while short-term contact can irritate the eyes, nose, skin, and throat. The criterion stipulates that the formaldehyde content of interior paint cannot surpass 0.01 percent of its weight, because formaldehyde may still exist as a contaminant in some of the raw ingredients used to create the paint. According to the NEA, the limit has been examined and compared to international principles and legislation as well as industry best practices.


Paint producers and importers will need to provide test results demonstrating that each interior paint product’s measured total in-can formaldehyde concentration is within the permitted limits starting on January 1, 2026. Laboratory accreditation from organizations like the Singapore Accreditation Council is required for the preparation of the test results. Paints used for outdoor applications and industrial paints marketed in Singapore are exempt from this rule. These must be labeled to let users know that they are exclusively intended for industrial or outdoor usage and contain formaldehyde. In order to make sure that paints supplied comply, NEA will keep an eye on the market.

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