CARB Survey Update, OTC Sets Timeline

Written on: January 18, 2016 by Doug Raymond

Happy New Year!
This year we will have many “opportunities” to work with regulators to maintain our product sales. A short summary of what to expect from each agency is provided.

California Air Resources Board (CARB)
The CARB survey work continues for Consumer Products. The last and final year’s data will be needed, then the task of reviewing all the data will begin.

Several new volatile organic compound (VOC) limits become effective as of 1/1/2017: Mist Spray Adhesive will drop to 30% from 65%; Web Spray Adhesive will drop to 40% from 55%; and a new category limit for Screen Printing Adhesive will be instituted at 55%. You only have one year to comply with these tough limits. If you have not reviewed your reformulation options, now is the time. If you cannot meet these limits, now is the time to tell CARB.

In addition, the Aerosol General Coatings and Specialty Coatings (A) will all be lowered or have new VOC limits starting 1/1/2017. Once again, now is the time to work on reformulation; do not wait until the end of the year. Of course, there is the three-year sell through for products made before the effective date.

CARB is also working on low vapor pressure (LVP) studies and will continue through 2016. Industry needs to continue to watch this effort closely.

As well, CARB is working on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) as reported in last month’s issue. Let’s hope this rule does not go any further than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Rule.

And as a friendly reminder: Product Dating/Date Coding. Remember, date code information needs to be reported to CARB every year by your company if you do not use CARB’s standard date coding. California Section 94512 (b) product dating specifically requires all consumer products to be sold into the state to display the day, month and year the product was manufactured or a code indicating the date. CARB has been increasing its activity on investigating and levying fines for non-compliance of this section.

The date or date-code information shall be located on the container or inside the cover/cap so that it is readily observable or obtainable (by simply removing the cap/cover) without irreversibly disassembling any part of the container or packaging. Information may be displayed on the bottom of a container as long as it is clearly legible without removing any product packaging.

CARB’s standard code that has to be represented separately from other codes on the product container so that it is easily recognizable is the following: YY DDD = Year Year Day Day Day. A manufacturer who uses this standard CARB code to indicate the date of manufacture does not have to report this code.

Failure to register a date code is subject to a fine. Every year, the fines seem to go up. Your date code explanation needs to be submitted to CARB Enforcement on an annual basis, on or before Jan. 31 of each year.

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)
SCAQMD will continue work on its Air Quality Management Plan that will be used to update the State Implementation Plan (SIP). Currently, SCAQMD has the position that minimal VOC emission reductions will be needed for the next SIP. Hopefully this position remains.

Next, SCAQMD will begin work on mold release products. Industry needs to closely monitor this issue to ensure aerosols are not affected. In addition, industry needs to maintain a vigilante review of all SCAQMD rules to ensure that the rules do not affect Consumer Products.

Ozone Transport Commission (OTC)
OTC continues to push EPA to develop a national VOC Rule using OTC Model Rules. Currently, there has been no movement by EPA.

OTC has begun work on voluntary program to achieve SIP-credits from low VOC products. We will need to wait and see how this program works out.

Similar to New Hampshire, Delaware is working on finalizing its amendment to its VOC Consumer Product Rule that will likely be finished in January 2016 with an effective date of 1/1/2017. Expect New York to work on its rule in 2016.

The EPA was busy last year with its adoption of both the SNAP program and the new Ozone Standard. The SNAP rule prohibits HFC-134a in many products as of July 2016. Certain products receive more time and other niche products are not affected. This rule will keep the manufacturers that use HFC-134a very busy this year with reformulation issues.

The Ozone Standard was lowered from 75ppb to 70ppb. If the amendment survives all the lawsuits, then states will need to begin work on how to comply. We will need to wait and see on this one.

Canada Consumer Product VOC Regulations
After a long wait for the Canadian VOC Consumer Product Regulation to be published, industry will need to continue to wait. With the change in Government in Canada, it is predicted that this rule will not be published anytime in the foreseeable future.

Some good news for 2016 and it is only January! Hopefully this trend continues throughout the year.