Dan, do a search, there was a whole bunch of posts on this same topic a couple months back.
For the record, the only ones I've used had paint chipping before they came outta the package. I was told by people who did actually use them they soaked up water like a sponge. The only ones I've seen used were re-painted and epoxied over to keep the water out...but then they didn't swim.
I can't imagine how a pencil popper could be bad, though, so long as remaining painted is not an issue with you.