Mowilex Indonesia launches campaign to remove lead paint from store shelves for free

08 September 2021

A year after introducing new, lead-free formulas for their wood and metal paint, the Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi range, Indonesian manufacturer PT Mowilex Indonesia (Mowilex Indonesia) is launching a voluntary replacement programme for stores and distributors across the country to remove the older stock of lead-based Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi from store shelves. This puts Mowilex Indonesia, which halted production of the lead-based Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paints in 2019, at the forefront of an international push to phase out harmful lead contained in certain paints and coatings.

The "Mowilex Pasti Aman" ("Mowilex is Surely Safe") campaign is taking place across Indonesia from September 1 to December 31, 2021. Participating stores and retailers will receive free replacements for all verified Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paints manufactured before 2019, when the company began its lead-free transition.

"Lead exposure is a major public health concern, and Mowilex Indonesia has invested significant time and resources into addressing the dangers," said Mowilex Indonesia CEO Niko Safavi. "Though the COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress globally, we remain committed to protecting families and the planet by eliminating lead in our consumer products."

Why eliminating lead matters
Lead is a toxic metal that collects in multiple systems of the body. It is particularly harmful to children, whose bodies can absorb four to five times more lead than adults. That exposure may trigger intellectual impairments and an increased risk of behavioural issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that lead exposure costs US$977bn each year, with much of the burden falling on families in low- and middle-income countries.

Mowilex Indonesia stopped producing certain colours of its wood and metal paint that contained lead in 2019, two years ahead of a phase-out goal set by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint. The alliance, organised by the WHO and the United Nations Environment Programme, reports that 79 countries have set legally binding limits on the production, import and sale of lead paints as of December 2020. Limits vary by country, from a 90 parts per million (ppm) cap in the United States to 100ppm in Switzerland, to 1000ppm limits in Australia and New Zealand.

Indonesia has a voluntary 600ppm limit, though advocates hope to see that limit lowered to 90ppm. Meanwhile, Mowilex Indonesia has reached a more ambitious goal. After voluntarily ending lead-based Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paint production, the company spent nearly two years revamping its Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paint formulas to incorporate safer oil/solvent-based elements.

"Mowilex Indonesia took drastic action by halting the production of lead-based Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paints in May 2019. We knew that we would lose revenue while we paused to redevelop our formulas, but we felt that acting ethically and responsibly was more important. We’re taking the next step by removing leftover lead-based Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi products from store shelves," says Niko Safavi.

"Mowilex Indonesia received a Gold Plus Rate Green Label Indonesia Certificate, with an impressive 98 out of 100 score on its Green Product Council Indonesia certification. The Mowilex Pasti Aman campaign is a voluntary initiative that is making a positive impact across Indonesia, and it underscores the company’s commitment to customer care and product safety. We hope this also inspires other paint manufacturers to take action," said Hendrata Atmoko, chairman of Green Product Council Indonesia.

"We spend more than 80% of our time inside homes, offices and other buildings. That makes chemical exposure a real concern," Atmoko added. "Not all Indonesians understand the side effects caused by lead paint, and we fully support Mowilex Indonesia’s efforts to educate customers as well as offer green and safe products."

How the programme works
Retailers are invited to request lead-free replacement Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paints during Mowilex Indonesia’s four-month Mowilex Pasti Aman campaign, which started on September 1, 2021. Stores that have older lead-based Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paints which still contain the older formula which were produced before 2019 can join the programme by visiting After entering product codes to verify programme eligibility, the website will guide retailers through the return and replacement process, which is free of charge.

The lead found in the previous Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paint formulas came mainly from pigments used in yellows and reds, plus certain orange and green shades that incorporated yellow and red components. Those four pigments will be most impacted by Mowilex Indonesia’s replacement effort.

"Mowilex Indonesia stopped making lead-based Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paints in 2019. While older containers of paint still comply with Indonesia’s voluntary lead limits, we want to do more to eliminate toxins and protect consumers. As a company, we are proud to advance these efforts by replacing old formulas with lead-free Mowilex Cat Kayu dan Besi paints at no cost to retailers," said Novina Tjahadi, Mowilex Head of Research and Development.

Sustainability in action
The Mowilex Pasti Aman campaign is one of several initiatives that demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Mowilex Indonesia is Indonesia’s only certified carbon-neutral manufacturer; its carbon offset funds support regional habitat conservation and thoughtful community development projects. Currently, the company is helping to save 65,000 hectares of forest in the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Borneo, home to 105,000 endangered Bornean orangutans. Mowilex Indonesia also supports the protection of endangered whale sharks in an environmentally sensitive marine area in Sumbawa.

Working with Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry, Mowilex Indonesia is planting 50,000 new trees—including 5,500 mangrove trees that are already protecting the coastline and capturing carbon in Bali and Purwakarta. The company has pledged to reduce new plastic use in its packaging by 80% before 2027.

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