Cat pee or Valspar paint?

publication date: Jul 20, 2017
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

What is that smell...

We all expect some smell after decorating a room, even when using low-odour paint.

But according to a report on Radio 4’s You and Yours programme this week, hundreds of Valspar paint users have blamed the product for an overwhelming smell of cat urine.

It wasn't me

Most users of the paint, available from B&Q, say the smell does not appear immediately, but develops weeks or even months after decorating, seemingly triggered by the warmer weather.

Experts suggest this may be caused by bacterial contamination, due to restrictions placed on preservatives being added to products.

The BBC quotes Graham Hill, of ECHA Microbiology in Cardiff, as saying: “It’s a well-known issue in the paint industry. The bacteria grow in the can and release hydrogen sulphide gas which is the bad egg smell, and ammonia which is the urine smell.”

Valspar have said the problem is due to an additive being removed from some paints; the company is now re-adding it to prevent this issue from recurring.

Valspar isn’t the first paint company to experience this problem; in 2010 it was Crown Paint which the BBC was investigating for the same reasons.

Meanwhile, since the Valspar problem was highlighted by You and Yours on Wednesday, both companies have offered to pay for the cost of redecoration, so do get in touch with B&Q if you have been wondering where the tomcat smell has been coming from!

If you think you have been affected, you can contact B&Q’s customer service line on 0333 014 3098.

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