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Which hazardous chemicals are lurking in your spot marker paint? 

With an estimated 10 million cans of spot marker paint flooding the Australian market every year, it’s critical for workers in civil construction and similar industries to ensure they are using the safest possible paints.

Many popular spot marker paints currently for sale contain hazardous chemicals including xylene and acetone – potent solvents that can cause everything from headaches and dizziness to more serious effects such as reproductive damage, liver and kidney damage, respiratory impairment – even cancer.

Xylene is so hazardous and so widespread that NSW Workplace Health & Safety has ranked it 9th in a list of 100 priority chemicals, based on toxicity and exposure potential. NSW WHS aims to achieve a 30% reduction in exposure by 2022, and it’s likely that the regulator will soon be tightening legislation and controls around these toxic chemicals.

With such large volumes of spot marker paint in use in Australia today, how many workers are potentially at risk, and what can be done to reduce the potential health impacts?

How to reduce the risk

It’s important to eliminate these risks as far as practicable by using paints and solvents with less toxic ingredients, or using different work methods so that workers limit their exposure.

PPE is always a last resort in the hierarchy of hazard controls, but if you do have to use equipment such as a respirator, ensure it has the right filters and cartridges for the task, and that employees have all had their respirators fit tested by a professional.

What’s the best spot marker paint?

You might think we’re biased, but the data speaks for itself: Soppec spot marker paint is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to worker safety.

We compared the Soppec safety data sheets with those of other popular competitor brands, and it’s clear to see that Soppec Fluo TP and Soppec ProMarker are a cut above.

Xylene and acetone free, with absolutely minimal hazard statements, the Soppec range of French made paints are not just safer, they’re excellent quality too.

Marker Paint Comparison

Comparison of common yellow spot paint brands used in the Australian civil & construction industries.
Sourced from online publicly available SDS. Current as at December 2019.

INGREDIENTS Soppec Promarker Spot Marking Paint Soppec Fluo TP Spot Marking Paint Jaybro Spot Marker Paint Dy-Mark Spray & Mark water based Dy-Mark Spray & Mark Standard Dy-Mark Linemarking Dy-Mark Linemarking Professional (epoxy paint) Dy-Mark Spray Writer Standard Signets Own Spot Marking Paint
Contains Xylene Y Y Y
Contains Acetone Y Y Y Y
Contains Naptha petroleum hydrodesulfurised heavy Y Y
AUH019 May form explosive peroxides Y
AUH044 Risk of explosion if heated under confinement Y Y Y Y Y Y
AUH066 Repeated exposure may cause skin dryness or cracking Y Y Y Y
EUH208 Contains Fatty acids, tall-oil, Compds. With Oleylamine. May produce an allergic reaction. Y
EH229 Pressurised container: May burst if heated YY
H222 Extremely flammable aerosol Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
H280 Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated Y Y Y Y
H302 Harmful if swallowed Y
H312 Harmful in contact with skin Y Y Y
H315 Causes skin irritation Y Y Y Y
H317 May cause an allergic skin reaction Y
H319 Causes serious eye irritation Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
H331 Toxic if inhaled Y
H332 Harmful if inhaled Y Y Y
H336 May cause drowsiness or dizziness Y Y Y Y Y
H351 Suspected of causing cancer Y
H402 Harmful to aquatic life Y Y
H412 Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects Y

‘But I trust my current brand – I’ve never heard of Soppec!’

The name might not be as familiar as some other popular paint brands, but Soppec has been manufacturing in France since the early sixties. Soppec paint products were an immediate hit in the construction and public works sectors in Europe, thanks to their high-performance xylene-free paints and innovative patented safety caps. The company now produces the equivalent of 25 million aerosols per year.

Soppec Fluo TP and Soppec Promarker, both excellent products for civil and construction applications, are available to buy in Australia exclusively from Jaybro.

Not only is it safer – Soppec sprays on brilliant, opaque colour

Soppec spot marker paint offers excellent coverage and strong, bright colour on a range of surfaces including grass, dirt, gravel, wood, concrete, asphalt, bitumen, brick and metal. That means it’s perfect for many common marking tasks that civil contractors face.

We urge our customers currently using competitor brands to review the SDS and see if their paints contain xylene or acetone, and come with hazard warning statements such as ‘suspected of causing cancer’.

If so, it might be time to try Soppec spot marker paints and see for yourself how you can achieve reliable, high-quality spraying and dazzling bright colour, in a much safer formulation.

More Information on Soppec

Find out more about hazardous substances

Acetone, xylene and toluene (which is found in some other brands) have documented workplace exposure limits under Safe Work Australia. These are currently under review, however at the time of writing, the following workplace exposure limits are in effect:


  • Maximum eight hour time weighted average (TWA): 500ppm | 1185mg/m3
  • Maximum short term exposure limit (STEL): 1000ppm | 2375mg/m3


  • Maximum eight hour time weighted average (TWA): 80ppm | 350mg/m3
  • Maximum short term exposure limit (STEL): 150ppm | 655mg/m3


  • Maximum eight hour time weighted average (TWA): 50ppm | 191mg/m3
  • Maximum short term exposure limit (STEL): 150ppm | 574mg/m3

For more information refer to your local workplace safety authority, your WHS representative or call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (Australia) or 0800 764 766 (New Zealand).

Disclaimer: This information is provided as an introductory guide only and does not constitute professional advice. Ensure you make your own independent enquiries before deciding if a particular product is right for you. Consult the regulations and standards applicable to your area and check with your workplace health and safety representative for further information. Jaybro does not warrant the accuracy, content, completeness or suitability of the information on this site (or any site owned by the Jaybro Group) for your individual purposes.


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