R.E.A.CH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use. It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances. The new law entered into force on 1 June 2007.
The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. One of the main reasons for developing and adopting the REACH Regulation was that a large number of substances have been manufactured and placed on the market in Europe for many years, sometimes in very high amounts, and yet there is insufficient information on the hazards that they pose to human health and the environment. There is a need to fill these information gaps to ensure that industry is able to assess hazards and risks of the substances, and to identify and implement the risk management measures to protect humans and the environment.


ASTM D-4236

Standard Practice for Labeling Art Materials for Chronic Health Hazards). In addition to compliance with European Common Market regulations, Acrylicos Vallejo decided in 2004 to begin the process of obtaining the ASTM D-4236, certification for the U.S.A. distribution of their products. For a period of two years formulas for our colors were submitted to a U.S. laboratory, and were found within the safety limits set by the ASTM organization. This is a continuing process, as new formulations arise. For more information please see

The ASTM certification, “Conforms to ASTM D-4236” is commonly accepted as a guarantee that the product is not toxic. However this should not be understood as a warrant to use paint without caution, since any color will contain some level of potentially harmful chemicals. Besides pigment and binder, paint contains many more ingredients and although no immediate or long term health hazards are anticipated with the use of any of these chemicals in the prescribed quantities, long term testing for chronic toxicity has been scant and incomplete. Colors should not be ingested or inhaled, no matter what their pigment content may be.


Pigments and safety

Pigments can only cause damage to health in case of inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. Pigments in solvent-based mediums are more likely to be inhaled due to the volatile nature of the medium. If in addition these solvent based colors are used in vaporized systems such as airbrushing, they become truly dangerous to health, and the use of a mask and a protective screen for airbrushing is already part of the legislation in many countries. Acrylic mediums have a low rate of solubility, and are by far safer in airbrushing techniques.

Most artists’ colors manufactured in these last 40 years are formulated with pigments which are considered safe to the artist or the environment. Synthetic pigments have found their place alongside the traditional pigments and shine in their own right; they are not only beautiful but have superb lightfastness and permanence. These organic pigments are also used in limited color ranges to replace some of the original inorganic pigments to manufacture colors identified with the word ” Hue ” on the labels. But the quality of artist’s pigments such as Cadmium and Cobalt is still unequalled and they continue to be included in all the important ranges of artists’ colors for professional artists.

Cadmium pigments are traditional pigments of great beauty, permanence and stability. They contain heavy metals and are not biodegradable. Care should be taken in the handling of Cadmium or any other pigment in powder form. Cadmium and Cobalt contained in Artist’ Colors should not be taken internally, and if applied in spray techniques, the use of a protective mask is essential. Used cadmium containers should not be incinerated, because in this process the cadmium compounds revert to a soluble state and produce toxic fumes. They can also get into the sewage system, and for environmental safety it is recommended to discard used cadmium tubes in special containers (as one would treat used batteries, for example). See also Cadmium Regulations Update.

Shelf life

The tubes and jars of Acrylic Artist CoIor and Acrylic Studio do not carry an expiration date, because the colors last an indefinite length of time if they are handled properly and stored in moderate temperatures 15 to 25º celsius (60-80 degrees Fahrenheit) . In our factory we have samples going back 10 years or more which have not changed or undergone any kind of alteration due to aging or temperature fluctuation. However, although these samples are checked periodically, they have not been used, and therefore they have not been exposed to any kind of contamination. Acrylic colors contain a certain percentage of water, and the colors will dry when their water content evaporates. It is most important is to keep the tubes and jars closed properly, and we consider a shelf life of about five years to be the norm, although colors may last much longer than that. For diluting colors, we recommend that only Acrylic Medium be used, and if thinning with water is preferred, this should be done with distilled water.

Proposition 65 California

In 1986, the State of California passed Proposition 65- Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, ( and in a long list of substances known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, included amongst others, Cadmium compounds, Cobalt, Nickel compounds, Carbon black, Chromium, Lead and Crystalline Silica. This ruling has caused most major Artist Paint manufacturers in the U.S.A. to include the following statement on their labels: This product contains cadmium, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer. Do not spray.

Further investigation in the possible ill effect of Cadmium resulted in toxicity findings if Cadmium was ingested or inhaled in the workplace, in the manufacture of batteries, soldering or welding, or ingested with shellfish and similar. Skin contact has not appeared to be a cause of concern. For more specific information of Cadmium please see the ATSDR Tox FAQ files at and for Cobalt see

For more info rmation about Cadmium and Cobalt see below. Carbon Black is listed in Proposition 65, but in an airborne state “unbound particles of respirable size”, which leaves this pigment safe when bound in an acrylic medium. The other pigments listed in Proposition 65 are not employed by Vallejo in any of our color formulations.

Cadmium regulations update

The European Union has adopted a Directive (91/338/EEC “the Cadmium Directive”) on the use of cadmium pigments, which seeks to harmonise restrictions on their use within EU member states. This directive does not ban the use of cadmium pigments, but restricts their use where they are not seen to be essential.

Actualización de las normas sobre cadmio

Cadmio y Cobalto en los colores vallejo

Proposition 65 caused great concern to the manufacturers of colors for artists. Some manufactures developed lines which do not contain the listed pigments. Vallejo introduced Acrylic Studio, a line of artists colors which does not contain either Cadmium or Cobalt pigment. Model Air, color line formulated for airbrushing, do not contain Cadmium or Cobalt.

However, further studies did not lead to a complete elimination of these pigments in artists’ colors or other industrial applications. The thermal and chemical stability of Cadmium is far superior to other pigments of similar hue. And in recent years, the manufacturing process of cadmium pigments has been much improved. Although soluble cadmium compounds and fumes are toxic, the pigments themselves have become practically insoluble and are now considered safe when used within the strictly regulated limits now applied. Of maximum importance is the solubility of the pigment, and only those pigments with a low solubility are employed , in accordance with the USA TCLP (Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure), a ruling which states that the maximum amount of soluble Cadmium in pigments should be 1ppm. The level of solubility of the pigments is further controlled in order to comply with the Council of Europe Resolution AP(89)1 Food Contact Limits, USA TCLP Waste Leaching Limits, Safety of Toys Directive 88/378/EEC (EN 71): Part 3 related to the coating of toys and EPA SW 846 Federal Regulation Vol.55 No.61 conforming to TCLP. See also Cadmium Regulations Update.

Acrylic Artist Color, Acrylic Gouache
The Cadmium pigments in these lines are insoluble compounds of Cadmium Calcinated Zinc Sulphide and Cadmium Sulphoselenide, supplied by Rockwood Pigments, which are considered non-hazardous in compliance with the C.H.I.P. (Chemicals Hazard Information and Presentation for Supply Regulations). Pigment content is listed on each label, in the colorcharts and on the attached Pigment Content-Index per product.

Model Color and Game Color
In Modelcolor and Game color , the object is not to bring out the quality of the pigment itself as in Artists’ Colors, but to use pigment for matching existing shades of uniforms, medieval or modern, weaponry, military vehicles of all kinds, and fantasy figures modern and ancient. Sometimes more than a dozen pigments are employed to achieve the most perfect match possible. In our colors for Models and Miniatures, Cadmium Calcinated Zinc Sulphide and Cadmium Sulphoselenide are present in some of the basic colors and in even lesser percentage in mixtures of the 300 plus shades. All are certified as ASTM D-4236.

Cobalt Pigments
This traditional pigment of great beauty is present in the Vallejo lines only in Acrylic Artist Color , in Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Violet, and Cobalt Yellow (Aureoline). In the form of dry pigment, inhaled cobalt may cause allergies in the respiratory system, but in the formulation of acrylic binder they are considered safe. Cobalt pigments are not classified as hazardous for supply under the Chemical Hazard Information and Presentation for Supply Regulations 2002 (SI 1689) and related EU directives (67/548/EEC, adaptations & amendments).

Phtalocyanine Pigments
Copper is found in the phtalocyanine pigments used in all artists colors (blues and greens). Historically copper was present in a soluble form in many pigments, but now it is employed in such complex compounds that they cannot be absorbed by the human body.

Pigments content per color

Las resinas acrílicas utilizadas en las formulaciones de colores en bellas artes se encuentran en un estado relativamente diluido comparado con su uso en otras industrias. No son un peligro para la salud ni para el medio ambiente. El nivel de monómero residual es inferior a 0,05%. La legislación del Mercado Común Europeo mantiene un control riguroso sobre la composición de la materia prima, sus actualizaciones relativas a los conservantes y otros aditivos, todos definidos por niveles máximos permitidos. Otros materiales utilizados en nuestros productos son en su mayoría naturales como la goma laca y la goma arábiga, y pueden reciclarse.

Acrylic Resins, Solvents and other additives

The acrylic resins used in the formulations for fine arts colors are in a relatively diluted state compared to their usage in other industries. They do not present a danger to health or environment. Residual Monomers are below the level of 0,05%.

Conservation additives are very strictly regulated and updated by European Common Market legislation, and kept below the maximum permitted levels. Other materials used in our products are mostly natural, such as shellac and gum arabic, and can be recycled.

Many components in artists paint, whether solvent- or water-based, and in themselves not irritating, can cause allergic reactions in some people. Well known allergenics are turpentine and similar products employed in oil and alkyd paints, but even acrylic resins in a water-based solution, normally completely inoffensive, have been know to cause an allergic reaction in some exceptional case.

However, even people who may have allergic reactions to certain ingredients can work safely if the necessary precautions are taken, such as good ventilation of the working area, the prevention of ingesting the paint and avoiding inhalation when using a paint in spray form (aerosol) or air brush.

Liquid Gold and our Brush and Airbrush Cleaners contain alcohol in their formula but not to the amount which would be included under the headings R-37, R-38, R-41 or R-36 in a quantity equal or superior to the limit set in Annex I, of law 67/548/CEE of 20 April 1994, or, in its absence, the limit fixed by Table IV of Annex I of the above mentioned law. In view of these regulations, our Brush and Airbrush cleaners can be considered as “Non irritating to the skin, eyes or respiratory system”, whereas Liquid Gold contains a slightly higher percentage of alcohol, and needs to be labelled with the symbol of “Irritating” and the phrase “Irritates eyes”. Under the same minimums fixed by the above law, we can also state that our products do not contain substances which are harmful, toxic or very toxic, so that they can be considered “Not Harmful”.

Waste disposal

Acrylic colors are potentially less harmful to the environment than solvent- based colors. It is preferable to allow color to dry out before disposal, rather than flushing left over paint down the drain, where waste will get into the sewage system. Do not incinerate Cadmium or Cobalt remnants, either in plastic containers or metal tubes, to avoid releasing toxic fumes which are created when these pigments revert to a soluble state. For environmental safety it is recommended to discard used cadmium tubes in special containers (as one would treat used batteries, for example).

For more info rmation about our products, kindly contact our offices via telephone, 34.93.893 6012, fax: 34 93 893 1154, and email: [email protected].

Only materials which can be recycled are used. PVC has been replaced with plastics less damaging to the environment. The Recycle symbol (arrows, green point) can be found on all Vallejo products.

Safety symbols on labels

The standards for labelling of fine arts materials are established by national and international regulations. For our client’s info rmation we list below some of the different safety symbols and texts which are obligatory in the EU.


Recyclable Material
This symbol indicates that the material of the packaging can be recycled, and that the manufacturer adheres to the regulations governing the use of this symbol.

Punto Verde

Green Point
This symbol indicates that the material of the packaging can be recycled, and that the manufacturer adheres to the regulations governing the use of this symbol.

A raised triangle on the label, as a tactile warning for blind people that the material might have a certain risk.

Child proof seal
Raised design on the cap. A tactile warning for blind people that the contents might be bothersome, and also an indication that cap needs a special counter pressure to be opened, thus preventing small children from unscrewing the cap.

Ozone Friendly
Used for aerosol sprays which are formulated with a propellant which is not harmful to the environment.

Indicate that product is easily set alight.

Exclamation Simbol
Indicates that the product has apossible risk qualification of irritating.

Skull Symbol
This symbol indicates product is very toxic.

Reversed Epsilon
Used only on aerosol spray cans to indicate that the labelling conforms to the requirements of the EU regulations. In all cases, the propellants employed require that aerosol sprays should be used with care, in well ventilated areas, and with all precautions due a flammable product.

CE marking is a key indicator of a product’s compliance with EU legislation and enables the free movement of products within the European market. By affixing the CE marking on a product, a manufacturer is declaring, on his sole responsibility, conformity with all of the legal requirements to achieve CE marking and therefore ensuring validity for that product to be sold throughout the EEA, the Member states of the EU and European Free Trade Association countries – Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Turkey. This also applies to products made in third countries which are sold in the EEA and Turkey.

Animal Testing
Our company does not carry out any kind of animal testing.We purchase our raw materials from well known multinational pigment and resin manufacturers who all are committed to the REACH regulations now in force in Europe. These regulations offer us the guarantee of quality and compliance with all established standards in the formulation of our colors. In our own manufacturing processes we further subject our colors to regular testing for aging and freezing resistance, as well as  biocide testing  to avoid the presence of  bacteria and fungus (micro-organisms)  in our products.

Further to the question, all international regulations require guarantees to safeguard consumers and environment; it is possible that some of the raw materials employed in the industry have been tested on animals at some point in order to determine the potential toxicity of these substances. The manufacturers of raw materials subject to this kind of control are required to facilitate this information to the public in order to avoid unnecessary repetition of such testing.

As a company, our main task is to ensure the quality of our raw materials and their compliance with REACH, in order to produce the best water based paints according to all international regulations and taking into special consideration the health issues for our employees and consumers. We take this responsibility very seriously.

As to the question of animal testing, we have consulted our major suppliers, all of them established and well known international chemical companies, and are informed that with some very rare exceptions, these companies carry out product tests on dead tissue only.