PaintPRO, Vol. 9, No. 1
January/February 2007
PaintPRO, Vol 9 No 1

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Other articles in this issue:
Profile: Thomas Moore Studios
Technique: Distressing Cabinets
Estimating Etc.
Business Strategies
Product Profile
Finishing Touch
Paint Industry News
Product News
PaintPRO Archives — Business Strategies

VOC regulations, Regional VOC Regulations

VOC regulations: Who is covered, who’s next and how low can you go? The past couple of years have been busy in the VOC regulation arena, and it is not slowing down.
by Susan Brimo-Cox

California leads the way and localities, such as the Phoenix area, as well as major regional areas, have adopted regulations stricter than current EPA rules.

In 2005, Ozone Transport Commission regulations (modeled after the California Air Resource Board’s regulations) went into effect in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. Maine followed suit in 2006, and New Hampshire on January 1, 2007. Massachusetts and Rhode Island may be looking at implementation in 2008.

Also in 2006, the more restrictive South Coast Air Quality Management District, covering the Los Angeles area, upped the anti — reducing the VOC grams/liter limits from 200 to 100 for primers, sealers and undercoaters, and from 150 to 50 in non-flat paints. SCAQM appears to be zooming in on a 50 grams/liter goal, because that’s its target for quick-dry enamels and flat paints, beginning July 2007 and July 2008, respectively.

As new regulations are implemented in Southern California, it looks like the cycle is starting up again as CARB, OTC and other areas begin to look at the possibility of imposing tighter restrictions in their areas.

Add to this mix the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium and the Midwest Regional Planning Organization, covering states in the Great Lakes area and the Midwest, which is considering VOC regulations. Ohio may have a proposal finished later this year with implementation possible in 2008. And Canada, too, is looking at possible regulations. There’s a lot going on to try to keep track of.

But Steve Sides, vice president of the National Paint & Coatings Association, reports NPCA is advising that areas considering implementing stricter VOC regulations take a wait-and-see stance. He says CARB is currently conducting a technology survey of paint manufacturers to determine what products are available and their VOC content. The results of the survey will be used to make adjustments in the VOC limits in California, the aim being that California is able to meet its federal clean air requirements without federal action. (This appears to be a prime motivator for most localities; meeting federal requirements without federal intervention.)

“There is a lot of pressure to go low with VOCs in about 60 percent of the country. This will drive the industry,” Sides says. Many of the local and regional regulatory agencies are watching for cues from California. It is also likely that the EPA will look to revise the federal rules, possibly in 2009.

Environmental Agency/Rule Coverage Current VOC limits (grams/liter) by agency for FLAT paints

US EPA National AIM Rule (1999) All US except CA and Maricopa County, AZ 250
Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) AIM Rules CT, DE, PA, NY, NJ, DC, VA, ME, NH 100
California Air Resources Board (CARB) All of CA except SCAQMD areas 100
South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1113 Los Angeles & surrounding basin 50 (2008)
Environment Canada Canada N/A
Source: Adapted from Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute



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