Managers Must Consider Regulations and Standards for Paints
A range of regulations, standards and certifications that apply to paints and coatings certainly play a role in a manager’s final decision. But manufacturers often point to two standards as the most important: LEED protocols and regulations from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) — www.aqmd.gov. The district has set the most stringent limit on VOCs in the nation — 50 grams of VOCs per liter of paint. Beyond setting that limit, its actions tend to heavily influence other organizations’ actions.
Says Minchew, “The South Coast of California is the bellwether for the nation.”
Managers also should be aware of a new paint-certification standard from Green Seal introduced earlier this year. It raises the requirements for reducing VOC levels for base paint and colorants and expands the number of prohibited chemicals.
The new edition of GS-11 prohibits such chemicals as carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins, hazardous air pollutants and ozone-depleting compounds. The ban eliminates formulation loopholes in the first edition of GS-11, which prohibited 25 chemicals but made it possible to substitute a chemical that was equally hazardous.
The new standard is the first paint standard in the United States to reduce the VOC levels of colorants, according to Green Seal. The standard also includes a more direct test method for VOC levels that produces a more accurate reading even at low levels.
Green Seal also is likely to roll out additional standards by mid-2009 that will be even tougher and more complex, Minchew says.
More activity is likely in the near future. The Federal Trade Commission is updating its guidelines to define claims manufacturers can and cannot make about the green nature of their products, Revnew says,.
Managers also should watch for new regulations on solvents in 2009 from the Ozone Transportation Commission — www.otcair.org — national guidelines in 2010 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — www.epa.gov — and new regulations from the California Air Resources Board — www.arb.ca.gov.