ACA Responds to Air Quality Standards Proposal
The American Coatings Association recently released a response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to retain the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.
This proposal was published on the Federal Register on Aug. 14.
The existing primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare-based) standards for ozone are set at 70 parts per billion and the ACA has voiced its support of retaining that standard. That number was lowered in October 2015 from 75 ppb to 70 ppb.
Volatile organic compounds, combined with nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sunlight, produce ground-level ozone, a principal component of smog. EPA has cited emissions from industrial facilities, electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors and chemical solvents as major man-made sources of NOx and VOCs.
The EPA is required to review these standards every five years, and the EPA cannot consider implementation costs when setting NAAQS, which are standards for outdoor ambient air that are intended to protect public health and welfare from pollution.
“Since the late 1970s, the paint and coatings industry has significantly reduced its emissions of VOCs and hazardous air pollutants, and this trend continues,” the ACA said.
“Market forces have played a role as the industry has become more service-oriented, providing just-in-time orders, smaller batch sizes, more waterborne and low-VOC coatings, and better transfer technology. VOC emissions from architectural coatings have drastically decreased over the last few decades as industry has moved towards low-VOC waterborne technologies, even while the use of architectural coatings has increased over the same period nationwide.”
ACA noted that the EPA has acknowledged that over the past 30 years, VOCs have decreased by 53%.
“More than 90% of architectural coatings sales in the United States are now for environmentally preferable water-based paint and many manufacturers are developing very low VOC paint products specifically for vulnerable populations,” the ACA added.
“In addition, modern aerosol coatings formulas are being developed with very low reactive solvents, resulting in significantly less potential for ozone formation.”
The EPA is holding virtual public hearings on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 to discuss the proposal. EPA’s comment deadline for the proposal is Oct. 1.