By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON Oct 25 Sherwin-Williams Co
and a unit of PPG Industries that sells Pittsburgh
Paints have agreed to stop advertising some of their paints as
having "zero" harmful chemicals, the Federal Trade Commission
said on Thursday.
The FTC, which frequently challenges companies for deceptive
advertising, said that Sherwin-Williams Dutch Boy Refresh and
PPG's Pure Performance paints both contained "more than trace
levels" of volatile organic compounds, which are potentially
The FTC said the untinted paint may have met the standard of
"zero" harmful VOCs, but once the paint was tinted the level of
toxins was often much higher.
"In reality, the vast majority of Dutch Boy-formulated
colors of paint are not zero VOC after tinting," the FTC said in
a complaint filed alongside the settlement.
The situation was similar for paints made by PPG Industries,
whose subsidiary PPG Architectural Finishes Inc makes paint
under the names Pittsburgh Paints, Pure Performance Paints and
The FTC has been focusing recently on mortgage-related scams
and deceptive environmental claims, which are essentially
assertions that a certain product is better for people or the
environment than it actually is.
Sherwin-Williams said its paint complied with federal
standards. "S-W is reviewing its labeling and other marketing
information to ensure compliance," said spokesman Mike Conway in
PPG said the base paints did not contain the VOCs, but
colorants did. "PPG is working with the Federal Trade Commission
to increase clarity regarding the marketing of low or zero-VOC
paints," said spokesman Jeremy Neuhart in an email.