Singapore to ban formaldehyde in interior paints from 1 Jan 2026

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From 1 Jan 2026, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) will require paints sold in Singapore intended for application on interior surfaces of buildings not to contain formaldehyde. This is in line with ongoing efforts to safeguard public health.

Formaldehyde is currently added to some interior paints as a preservative to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth. It can be emitted into the air and accumulate in indoor spaces.

Short-term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde may cause health effects such as eye, nose, skin, and throat irritation. Long-term exposure may increase the risk of asthma and some forms of cancer.

From 1 Jan 2026, paint manufacturers and importers will have to submit test reports to NEA substantiating that the measured total in-can formaldehyde content in each interior paint product is below 0.01% weight by weight.

The test reports will have to be prepared by accredited laboratories. Industrial paints and paints used for outdoor applications sold in Singapore are excluded from this requirement, but will have to be labelled to inform users that they contain formaldehyde and are meant for industrial or outdoor use only.

NEA will carry out market surveillance and enforcement to ensure that the paints sold are compliant with the requirements. With the implementation of this control, all interior paint products containing formaldehyde will be phased out in Singapore.

To gather feedback, NEA had consulted the Singapore Paint Industry Association (SPIA), whose members comprise about 80% of the local paint industry.

Manufacturers and retailers shared with NEA that interior paints not containing formaldehyde were available in the Singapore market.

NEA further sought public feedback from individual SPIA members and non-SPIA paint companies between 22 Nov-13 Dec 2023. Based on the feedback received, the paint industry is generally supportive of the proposed measures, as claimed by the NEA.

Similar measures have been implemented in overseas markets, including China and the EU.