The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Sherwin-Williams® SW 6738 Vegan Color: Is It Vegan?

Posted on October 19, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

A long-time VRG volunteer recently asked us to look into a Sherwin-Williams (SW) paint color named Vegan with product code SW 6738. “Is it vegan?” she asked us.

SUMMARY:
The Regulatory Department at Sherwin-Williams (SWRD) told us:
SW 6738 is not a paint. It is a color code. When you chose a paint at the store, the store will tint that paint to your desired color. The store will use a combination of colorants (think food dye), add them to the paint, and mix it up for you at the point of sale. We have several options and brands of paints that you could have tinted to SW 6738 color … SW 6738 is just the name of a color, it is not a product.

After speaking to a suburban Maryland Sherwin-Williams salesperson we were told that (SW 6738 Vegan) Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint (Product Code (PC) 650428188) needs five tints (all liquid in these cases) that must be blended and mixed in the paint:

White PC 650349996
New Green PC 650349400
Raw Umber PC 650349954
Yellow PC 650350002
Deep Gold PC 650350010

The regulatory department at Sherwin Williams told us the above paint and tints (that could obtain the SW 6738 vegan color) does not contain carmine, cochineal, stearic acid, gelatin, whey, casein, or milk as intentionally added ingredients. Thank you to Sherwin Williams for all their help.

BACKGROUND OF OUR RESEARCH

2014 SW Q&A Exchange on Vegan Color
In 2014 The VRG had asked Sherwin-Williams if their Vegan tint was, in fact, vegan. At that time they would not say if there were any animal ingredients or not in the tint.

Here is the 2014 exchange:
VRG initial questions:
Is this paint vegan (meaning it contains no animal products)? http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/paint-colors-by-family/SW6738-vegan/
Are your other paints free of animal ingredients?

SW initial response:
The materials and formulations of our products are proprietary so I am unable to disclose the information you are looking for. What I can tell you is what you are referring to is only a color and not a type of paint.

I hope this information is useful. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

VRG Followup Question #1: Can you tell me if there are animal-derived ingredients in this paint such as gelatin or casein?
SW Followup Response #1: Again, I am sorry however the materials and formulations of our products are proprietary so I am unable to disclose specific information.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

VRG Followup Question #2: I am not asking you to provide an ingredient list.

I am asking if animal ingredients (such as gelatin or casein) are in the vegan paint

SW Followup Response #2: Thank you very much for taking the time to follow up.

Again, I apologize for any inconvenience however I am unable to disclose the contents of our paint. This is proprietary information. You can find a list of ingredients that we are legally required to disclose on an MSDS. Simply provide the name of the product you are interested and I will send you this information.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

[VRG Note: Since animal and dairy ingredients are not considered hazardous according to the government’s definition, they are not required to be listed on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) currently renamed “Safety Data Sheets” (SDS).]

2017 SW Q&A Exchange on Vegan Color
In July 2017 we contacted Sherwin-Williams again with the same question when a long-time VRG volunteer asked us to look into it.

Catherine in the Customer Service Department at Sherwin-Williams explained that SW 6738 is a color that can be added to many different types of paint that they sell such as latex paint. We clarified our question by requesting information on both the Vegan color and on the paints which it could be made in. We wanted to know if there were any animal- or dairy-derived ingredients in either.

Catherine transferred us to the Regulatory Department at Sherwin-Williams (SWRD).

Sherwin-Williams Regulatory Department Responds
The next day after our initial call to Sherwin-Williams corporate office, we received a reply from the Regulatory Department (SWRD). Here is our initial email exchange with them when we were trying to determine how to get ingredient information from Sherwin-Williams. SWRD was extremely prompt in responding to our questions during this exchange often within minutes

VRG: Does the color SW 6738 Vegan contain any animal ingredients?

Which paints could be tinted with SW 6738?

Of those paints, which are free of all animal-derived ingredients?

I do not need any MSDS unless it shows complete ingredient information.

I am asking about animal ingredients and not about safety.

SWRD: Thank you for reaching out to us. Our group can help you.

However, we will need some more information.

Our group can look up the formula for any tint base and to see if it contains animal-derived ingredients. We kindly ask that you supply us with the product numbers and/or UPC codes for the products you are interested in. If you need a recommendation, please reach out to customer service at 1-800-331-7979. Unfortunately we are not product experts here in Regulatory as we cover all SW brands and products, thousands.

Additionally, our group does not have the color formulas either. This information is handled by our SW stores. You would have to contact your local store to obtain the product IDs for the colorants that would be used to tint a base to the color of your choice. The colorants used may be different depending on the tint base.

I apologize again that this question is not as easy to answer without more information.

VRG: Could you please explain the difference between “tint base” and “color”? In your reply you present them as if they’re different although I understand them to be synonyms.

I assume that there is a tint that you add to a paint. Then you blend it in to make the entire gallon uniform in color. How are there two distinct formulas as you seem to suggest in your reply?

Is SW 6738 a tint or a color?

SWRD: Sorry for the confusion. The tint base is the uncolored paint in the can before it is tinted at the store for the customer. Small amounts of colorants are added at the point of sale at the store to achieve the customer-chosen color. We have the formulas for the base paint and the formulas for the colorants. What we don’t know is which colorants are used and how much of them are used to achieve a specific color at the store level.

SW 6738 is not a paint. It is a color code. When you chose a paint at the store, the store will tint that paint to your desired color. The store will use a combination of colorants (think food dye), add them to the paint, and mix it up for you at the point of sale. We have several options and brands of paints that you could have tinted to SW 6738 color. Unfortunately, I cannot make a paint recommendation for you.

Customer service can help answer your questions and make you a recommendation. They are the product experts. Please reach out to them at 1-800-331-7979.

Once you decide on a paint you would like tinted to SW 6738, please provide us a UPC code or product code for the paint(s) so we can look up the formula for you. Also, we do not know which colorants (dyes) the store will add to the paint to make it your desired color. Therefore, we will need to ask them for the product number for the colorants they are going to use.

SW 6738 Vegan is just the name of a color, it is not a product. The colorants themselves are liquid but they typically have powders dispersed in them.

VRG: Thanks for all of your great help!

VRG: And now I can research tints, call a store and be given a list of colorants for the tints I select? Then I call you with that information and the name of a base paint?

Is there any way you can scroll through colorants and select for “carmine” for example?

SWRD: Yes, I will need product numbers or UPC codes to be able to pull formulas. I will need the paint information as well as the colorant information. They all have separate formulas. Reviewing formulas is a manual process unfortunately, so I would be unable to scan a group of products for particular ingredients.

Sherwin-Williams Customer Support Department Responds:
After sending in the website contact form, the Customer Support staff sent us an email. This is from an exchange of questions and answers.

Denice at SW Followup Response: None of our paints contain animal ingredients. Also none of our colors contain animal ingredients.

VRG: We spoke to Fred, a suburban Maryland Sherwin-Williams salesperson, for product code information. He was extremely helpful in providing all of the product code information for several paint types and for many colors including Vegan. He informed us that some of our paint choices would not support certain colors and suggested other paints that would. [VRG Tip: When looking to purchase vegan paint, we recommend that consumers specify both the paint and the tint for compatibility first; information on each taken separately is not useful.]

According to Fred, SW 6738 Vegan in Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint (Product Code (PC) 650428188), needs five tints (all liquid in these cases) that must be blended and mixed in the paint:

White PC 650349996
New Green PC 650349400
Raw Umber PC 650349954
Yellow PC 650350002
Deep Gold PC 650350010

Some Other Sherwin-Williams Colors and Paints: Carmine Present?
Knowing that insect-derived carmine (cochineal) may be used to pigment red, pink, purple, yellow or orange tints in beverages but not knowing if this applies to paints, (although carmine is an ingredient in some craft paints, http://www.vrg.org/blog/2014/06/18/craft-glues-and-paints-mostly-petrochemical-but-carmine-present-in-some-testors-and-plaid-paints/), we asked about the product codes for all of the component tints needed to make these colors.

Fred did not have complete product code information at his store but he told us that ingredients are listed on certain bottles. For example, when we inquired about red, he stated that Sherwin-Williams has three red tints used to make many others. These are New Red, Magenta and Maroon. Fred read off ingredients from these bottles to us; carmine (cochineal) was not listed. Fred did not know if the ingredient lists on the bottles were complete so we asked the Regulatory Department about them as well.

Here are some of the colors we asked about. We also selected several different combinations of paints and sheens but Fred was able to determine if certain tints and paints were compatible. Here are Fred’s suggestions for some of the colors we wanted information about:

SW 6840 Exuberant Pink which Fred told us can be made in Interior Emerald Flat Paint (PC 650869829), needs these four tints:
White 650349996
Black 650349392
Maroon 650349962
Magenta 650349970

SW 6565 Grandeur Plum in Interior Harmony Flat Paint (PC 650428188) also needs four tints blended together:
Raw Umber 650349954
Black 650349392
Maroon 650349962
Magenta 650349970

SW 6887 Navel in Interior ProMar 200 Zero VOC Flat Paint (PC 650186927) needs only two tints:
White 650349996
New Red 650349988

Final Conclusions about Several SW Paints and Tints
The VRG in turn took these product codes to the Regulatory Department in September 2017. Here is that culminating exchange:

VRG: I’d like to know if any animal- or dairy-derived ingredients are in the paints and tints listed below.

These ingredients include:

carmine (also called cochineal)
stearic acid (or similar chemical compounds)
gelatin
whey
casein
milk

Here are the paints followed by their product codes:
Interior Emerald Flat: 650869829
Interior Harmony Flat: 650428188
Interior ProMar 200 Zero VOC Flat: 650186927

Here are the tints and accompanying product codes:

White 650349996
New Green 650349400
Raw Umber 650349954
Yellow 650350002
Deep Gold 650350010
Black 650349392
Maroon 650349962
Magenta 650349970
New Red 650349988

SWRD response:
The following Sherwin-Williams products:

650869829
650428188
650186927
650349996
650349400
650349954
650350002
650350010
650349392
650349962
650349970
650349988

do not contain carmine, cochineal, stearic acid, gelatin, whey, casein or milk as intentionally added ingredients.

This information is to the best of my knowledge, based on current formulation and information given to us by our raw material suppliers.

Thank you to Sherwin Williams for all their help.

[VRG Note: In a phone conversation, it was noted that sometimes Sherwin-Williams uses tint components from other vendors. These trademarked components appear on the Sherwin-William’s ingredient labels that they accessed to answer our inquiry about animal- and dairy-derived ingredients. The raw material supplier s may not reveal, even to Sherwin-Williams, all of the contents of the trademarked components claiming it’s proprietary information. This means that in cases where trademarked components are used we as consumers cannot know all ingredient source information.]

The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

To support research such as this, please donate to The Vegetarian Resource Group here: www.vrg.org/donate

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