Paint thinners and multi-purpose solvents in California will soon face the country’s strictest VOC controls, under a new regulation approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
On Thursday (Sept. 24), CARB approved a regulation that will eliminate more than 14 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds per day when fully implemented in 2014. The measure also prohibits the use of several toxic air contaminants.
The measure will ban the sale of products—including paint thinner, multi-purpose solvents and air fresheners-- that emit high levels of VOCs. The rules are the toughest state mandate in the nation and will take effect Dec. 31, 2013.
According to California's clean air laws, chemically created products used by homeowners and institutions are consumer products and subject to air pollution regulatory control. These emit nearly 255 tons VOCs per day statewide.
"Consumer products are not widely recognized as a source of air pollution," said ARB Executive Officer James Goldstene. "But the millions of times a day these are sprayed, poured and painted generate a large cloud of fumes that can create ozone and contribute to California's smog problem."
The new regulation, which will result in one of the state's largest reductions of VOCs from consumer products, also sets the nation’s first-ever cap on the use of high global warming ingredients.
The cap on global warming ingredients was adopted to create a backstop that would avoid the need to review the regulation if such compounds were to be considered for future formulas.
ARB officials expect the measure to add about $1.50 per gallon to the cost of paint thinner.
VOCs are a target of air quality regulations because they easily convert to ozone in the heat of California's climate. Ozone can worsen asthma, cause serious lung inflammation, decrease lung function and lead to emergency room visits for asthma, hospitalization for respiratory conditions and increased school absences.
The California Clean Air Act, adopted in 1988, required CARB, a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency, to reduce VOC emissions from consumer products as a means to reach state and federal ambient air quality standards. Since then, CARB regulations have curbed these emissions by 44 percent.”