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  • Amount of zinc in titanium white oil paints - some informationApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-03-09 14:17:46 ... Most recent comment 2019-07-28 22:20:22
    Pigments Scientific Analysis Oil Paint

    ​Hi all,

    I've emailed several art manufacturers that I use here in the UK regarding the amount of zinc in their titanium white oil paint.

    Here are the results which may prove useful to you all:

    CompanyProportion of Zinc
    Winsor & Newton - Artist Oils"There is not enough to cause a brittle film--less than 2%."
    Royal Talens - Rembrandt"The percentage of zinc oxide for both products is between 5% and 10% … They both contain the same amount of Zinc. The Safflower oil makes sure it’s getting less yellow."
    Schminke - Norma"we can say that our #11114 titanium white have a content of PW4 lower than 10%."
    M Graham - Oil Color"I have been told that we use under 3% Zinc in our Titanium. We do have a zinc free oil 11-181 that I can recommend if there is a concern."
    Jacksons - Artist and Professional Oil RangeWon't reply after 2 mails
    Blockx"Paint made with Titanium Dioxide pigment is very hard and misses elasticity. So, we do add indeed a very little Zinc pigment. But the proportion is of course secret. And will defer from one manufacturer to another. " - Won't reply after 2 more chasing emails
    M Harding"It's about 10% of the overall volume."
    Williamsburg"We are happy to report that we do not use any zinc in our Titanium White oil paint." - 0%
    SennelierWon't reply after 2 mails
    Maimeri - ClassicoWe can declare that the proportion of Zinc in Classico Titanium White 018 is moreless 50%."

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​We thank you very much for sharing this information. We plan to also share your post with folks in the conservation and preservatoin field as this is useful to them as well! 

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2018-03-09 14:45:02
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Great info. We can report that our current Titanium-Zinc contains 2% by overall weight. Would be interesting, if you are gathering these things, to ask if the percentages refer to:

    - overall weight (oil and all solids)

    - weight of pigments + inert solids

    - weight of pigments only

    - volume of any of the above

    And of course, try to treat this information in a neutral way. While research has not currently identified a safe percentage of zinc, at least one of the principal researchers in this area (Marion Mecklenburg) continues to feel that some as-yet-defined percentage of zinc could be beneficial, providing some film strength to titanium white and acting as a source of active metal ions, which are thought to be critical in the overall structure of a paint film. This is especially true if lead white is not being used in a painting. So always a somewhat complicated picture. In the meantime, transparency in itself is always a good thing and more information is useful for both researchers and artists.

    Sarah Sands, Senior Technical Specialist, Golden Artist Colors
    2018-03-09 14:46:51
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​I hope it proves useful. I've posted it on WetCanvas and DrawMixPaint which I am members of.

    Interestingly two manufacturers initally replied to say such information was proprierty or secret and yet when I replied about my concerns with zinc and the articles recently published on JustPaint they readily gave me the percentage used.

    I wonder why they didn't reveal it at the beginning? Perhaps just an automatic response to information requests?

    2018-03-09 15:13:16
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Update from Maimeri about Zinc in other colours:"the website is not updated, sorry about this.Zinc is in Classico whites only.White 019 contains less then 50% zinc.As alternative you can have a look at our Artisti oil range. Artisti white012, 018 and 026 contain less then 50% zinc."

    2018-03-12 06:20:25
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    I’d like to add some info to this thread:

    I noticed on the Michael Harding website that the pigment specification for their titanium whites no longer mentions zinc oxide (PW4) although the description does mention a ‘’small addition of zinc white’’.

    I contacted MH and the response from Karyn Harding was that they are in the process of reformulating their titanium white because ‘there has been sufficient research done indicating that zinc over a very long period of time may affect the paint’. 

    Elsewhere on their website MH still maintain that ‘’It is up to any manufacturer if they elect to phase out Zinc White.  In my humble opinion, being an artist, if you know your materials and you understand Zinc White and that it is used for mixing purposes only it will not damage your painting – again – as long as it is used diluted with other colors!’’

    I don’t know if they are backpedaling on the ‘it’s the additives and not the pigment’ argument, but whatever they believe, marketing-wise the writing is on the wall….

    I also noticed that Gamblin have completely changed the formula of their Naples yellow which used to contain PW4 but now no longer does. I wonder what this means for their other zinc containing formulas (I might contact them) because in a previous exchange they also claimed that additives where a bigger problem than the pigment.

    A couple of months ago I contacted Old Holland (via email and Facebook) but they never replied (I live in the Netherlands so language nor time-zone should be a problem). However, I have reason to believe that their Mixed White contains 10% zinc (based on information that was once on their website but has since then been removed).

    2019-07-15 17:56:18
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; line-height: 115%; }

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, Gamblin have changed their formula for Naples Yellow to one which no longer contains zinc-oxide.

    In the meantime I contacted Gamblin, and their representative confirmed that they are in the process of reformulating their zinc-oxide containing colors. At this point it’s not clear whether this means a reduction or a complete phasing out of zinc-oxide.

    The representative also emphasized that it will take some time to reformulate all their zinc containing colors and that there is no time table at this time.

    2019-07-16 18:08:17
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Regarding zinc white content in Old Holland Whites;  The information is available to an inexact degree with their safety data sheets in English. Last updated in 2018.  

    Zinc white:  70-90% zinc oxide, 3-5% titanium dioxide.

    Titanium white:  50-70% titanium dioxide, 10-20% zinc oxide.

    Mixed white:  25-50% zinc oxide, 25-50% titanium oxide.

    Cremnitz white:  90% basic lead carbonate. (no declared zinc or titanium oxides, thus one supposes none at all)


    2019-07-20 00:52:05
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Another option for people in EU, or who buy via Jackson's in the UK: 

    Isabelle Roelofs says the Titanium white in her Isaro paints is "100% titanium".

    2019-07-24 20:47:23
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Winsor & Newton whites 2015 from safety data sheets.

    Zinc white percentages only.

    Titanium white,   5-10%

    Zinc white,  50-75%

    Cremnitz white,  0%

    Flake white hue,  1-5%

    Flake white no1,  10-30%

    Underpainting white,  5-10%

    Transparent white,   5-10%

    This information is probably out of date, but I can't find any newer sheets online.  However perhaps some of these paints will still be in stock in some shops.  At the very least they will still be in many artist's paint boxes. Cremnitz white, Flake white no1 and Transparent white have now been discontinued.


    2019-07-27 17:36:37
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Lefranc & Bourgeois Extra Fine Oil 2016 safety data sheets

    Zinc oxide percentages only,

    Titanium white,  5-10%

    Titanium & zinc white,  5-10%

    Zinc white,  60-100%

    Also a little out of date.  It would be natural to suppose that the Titanium white will be closer to the 5% end of percentages and the Titanium & Zinc white closer to the 10%.  As the W&N range are now made in the Lefranc & Bourgeois Le Mans factory, I can't help but wonder if some of the paints could now be the same with different packaging.

    2019-07-27 18:02:23
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Sennelier, "Won't reply after two emails."

    2015 safety data sheet for their Zinc-Titanium white has zinc oxide listed as being somewhere from, or between, 25-50%.  Once again this may not be accurate to present production.


    2019-07-27 22:43:08
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I will reach out to our contact at Sennelier to see if we can get a response.

    Brian Baade
    2019-07-28 22:20:22

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