Here’s the most recent update from Ironlak’s Founder and Company Director.
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It’s funny, someone made a comment to me late-last week that a friend of theirs had recently been using Ironlak and said something like “the paint’s really amazing, except for the smell!” It prompted me to re-consider why this perception is still so evident, in Europe, in particular. It’s rare for people to make comments like that in other parts of the world, especially since we reduced the smell of Ironlak about three years ago and reduced it even further 18 months ago.
I believe this perception exists in Europe for two reasons;
Firstly, Ironlak smells different to the other brands, not more, just different. Because the smell is different, it’s something you notice instantly when you are not accustomed to smelling it. It’s the same thing for Tues or I, when we are painting with a writer who is using another brand – the first thing we notice is the smell, and it appears to smell much more than Ironlak, because they are omitting smells that we aren’t familiar with.
If you are painting in a tight spot, it won’t matter what paint you are using. If someone smells anything foreign in that environment, you’re toast. Ironlak won’t impact on that situation anymore than other brands just because it smells different.
Back in 2009-10 Ironlak smelled a lot more than it does now. Around 75% of that smell came from the fragrance (perfume), which we added into the formulation. The addition of a fragrance was inspired by a certain shoe paint brand that most older Aussie writers should remember. Some people loved the smell, others didn’t. What we didn’t know at the time is that some people are sensitive to fragrances and for these people certain perfumes can trigger headaches. After researching this, we immediately removed the fragrance. This was also the part of our product that lingered for a long time, where you would go back the next day and you could still smell the fragrance.
Then at the end of 2012 we modified the monomer in our resin. Thankfully our head chemist has a lot of experience with resins, which allows us to constantly develop our own proprietary resins, rather than selecting from a list supplied by our various resin suppliers.
Once we had modified the monomer in our resin, we conducted extensive tests in closed environments, simulating some of the places where writers would typically paint. We timed how long it would take for the paint to dissipate in a closed environment. We then did the same tests with numerous other brands to compare and found against some of the brands Ironlak actually dissipated quicker. Once we were confident our product did not smell more than other brands, we gave it to credible writers and asked them to do field tests in live environments, where a breeze could carry the smell, creating potential problems for them. We found that our results were successful yet again – giving us the confidence to say that in any situation Ironlak could be used without writers fearing it would compromise them more than another brand.
The second reason is thanks to some of our competitors. For the sake of this blog post let’s call them ‘Propaganda Paint Company 1 and 2’, because that’s what they seem intent on doing; spreading propaganda, rather than focussing on their own business and providing exceptional service and products – so they’ll tell anyone who will listen that our products are obscenely toxic, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve even heard rumours that Ironlak contains lead, which is crazy talk.
Most people care about their own health to some degree, and you have to ask yourself, would some of the best graffiti writers in the world like Does, Sofles, Pose, Bates, Kems etc continue using Ironlak and working with us, if they really believed our paint was more harmful than XYZ brand? Of course they wouldn’t. Many of these guys have been approached by other brands and they’ve stayed loyal because they believe in our brand, our products and that a graffiti company should be run by writers. They don’t believe the rumours that other brands throw around.
I remember hearing a story about Kems painting in Canada and one of the key people from ‘Propaganda Paint Company 2’ was there and started trying to tell Kems about how Ironlak was so much more harmful for graffiti writers and their health. Kems responded by saying “I’m well aware of the health hazards relating to the use of spray paint and have had the opportunity to review most company’s material data sheets. I’m not misinformed about what is in paint, and I know the truth regarding Ironlak and all paint for that matter.” Knowing his bluff had been called, the employee from ‘Propaganda Paint Company 2’ could only smile and walk away, knowing he’d been refuted with the truth.
We regularly get our paint tested for heavy metals by SGS – who are considered a worldwide leader in laboratory analysis – as a safety precaution to ensure that no heavy metals find their way into our paint.
If you look at the LD50 (median lethal dose) of the solvents we use in high concentration in our paint, compared with our competitors – which you can easily do by looking at our MSDS – you will discover that the main solvents we use actually have lower toxicity than many of our competitors, and overall our product is healthier. Don’t take our word for it, don’t take the word of ‘Propaganda Paint Company 1 and 2’, do your own research and draw your own conclusions.
The two most used solvents in Ironlak have an LD50 value of 10,000 or higher. In comparison, most of our competitors’ common solvents have LD50 values of around 5,000. The lower the number, the higher the toxicity, this means that the median lethal dose of their most common solvents are twice as toxic as our most common solvents. Now this is only one part of the equation and doesn’t paint the whole picture, which is very complex. When discussing toxicity you need to consider more than just the LD50 value, this example does however give you an important part of the picture.
The bottom line is this; the message being spread by our competitors that Ironlak is more harmful than their brand is false. So next time you hear it, take a second to think where the message came from and what agenda the original messenger might have.
The reality is no aerosol paint is “healthy”. Repeated exposure to solvents can be harmful, which is why all responsible companies have warnings on their products. We always recommend that you should wear a respirator and relevant protective gear. Take care of yourself.
Thanks for taking the time to read my essay. Now we’ll continue to put out new products, continue to strive for perfection, continue to paint graffiti and continue to provide exceptional service for our customers. We’re happy to leave the lies and rumours for our competitors.
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