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Some oil-based paint shortages seen
Report: Anti-pollution rules in the mid-Atlantic is causing supplies of paints, stains to dry up.
May 24, 2005: 7:03 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - New rules are preventing stores in the mid-Atlantic United States from selling oil-based paints and stains, just as spring painting season gets underway, according to a published report Tuesday.

The Washington Post said new rules aimed at curbing ozone air pollution prevents stores in Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York from ordering new stock of gallon-sized containers of oil-based paint, although they can sell out their existing stock.

Rules like these have already been in effect in California, but there has been little attention in the East to the change in rules.

The paper reports that some stores stocked up large amount of the paint in anticipation of the little-known rules taking effect, and some painters have also been stocking up supplies of the paint. The paper said the rules also causing some painters to go outside the region to stores in Southern Virginia and other areas to bring back the paint.

Quart-size containers of oil based paint are still allowed, but they are generally far more expensive, the Post said.

The paper said the rules are being challenged in a lawsuit by Sherwin-Williams Co. (Research), the nation's largest paint maker. It is seeking an exemption or extension for products it hasn't been able to reformulate, such as the oil-based wood stains sold under the Minwax brand.

"Oil-based stains are in effect being eliminated. Technology is not available to replace those," Bill Rafie, director of marketing for Sherwin-Williams's commercial segment, told the Post.

While many painters have already switched to latex paint, which is water based, others quoted by the Post said that they need the oil-based paint to do the quality paint job wanted by customers.

"With oil, you walk into the house, it's such a beautiful thing, it's hard to describe," painter Carlos Diez told the paper. "Manufacturers claim what they have on the market is just as good as oil. It's not. It's nowhere near."

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