Regulatory Issues

Written on: January 1, 2018 by Doug Raymond

Happy New Year!


The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced the next public workshop for the amendments to the Multi-purpose lubricants (MPL) effective date and the volatile organic compound (VOC) limit. CARB is proposing to add an alternative reactivity limit and delay the effective date for six months.

The reactivity limit proposed is 0.45 maximum incremental reactivity (MIR) with a maximum of a 25% mass-based VOC limit. CARB will retain the 10% mass-based VOC limit as well. This is in case anyone has proactively reformulated to meet the limit. In addition, CARB will delay the current effective date of 12/31/2018 for six months.

As you may know, reactivity limits tend to provide more flexibility when formulating products and a reduction in reactivity always reduces the ozone being produced. If you choose the alternative MIR limit, then there will be some paper work that you need to fill out. First, the product and formula will need to be registered with CARB. Then, the annual sales of the product will need to be supplied to CARB; we are hoping to limit this to every three years.

The next workshop is set for Jan. 17, in Sacramento, CA (8:30am–10:30am). The next steps will be a formal proposal including regulatory language on Jan. 17, followed by a comment period and a board hearing in May of 2018. If you support this proposal make sure to comment to CARB.

Survey Data

CARB has stated that some of the survey data from the years 2013 and 2014 should be released late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2018. Therefore, workshops on the survey data and the next ruling should be starting this summer.

For those who have not been through this process, CARB will first release the survey data. Industry reviews the data and provides detailed comments, usually on the size of the product category and the ingredients in the product category. If the Industry comments are reasonable, CARB will make changes.

After the data is “cleaned up,” CARB will then propose categories to be regulated. Then the real work begins. Industry will again comment to CARB, who will then release limits and regulatory text to their proposals.

Following that, CARB will have a couple of workshops. Again, Industry or the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can comment. CARB will make the appropriate changes. The last move in this process is a hearing by CARB’s Executive Board. This is the final chance to comment.

CARB Date Code

Consider this my annual friendly reminder concerning product dating/date coding. Remember that 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 that all consumer products to be sold into the state display the day, month and year the products were manufactured or a code indicating the date. CARB has been increasing its activity on investigating and levying fines for non-compliance in 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 (YY DDD = Year Year Day Day Day) has to be represented separately from other codes on the product container so that it is easily recognizable. 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 and the fines seem to go up every year. Your date code explanation needs to be submitted to CARB Enforcement on an annual basis, on or before Jan. 31 of each year.


On Nov. 15, 2017, the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) held a meeting. The Stationary Source Committee, which works on Consumer Products, proposed that a New Model Rule be developed using CARB’s currently enforceable limits as the Model. OTC is proposing on working on this in the first Quarter of 2018.

We applaud the OTC in wanting to maintain consistency, however, many states have not even adopted the 2014 Model Rule. Therefore, if a new Model Rule is adopted, then there is the potential that three active and different Model Rules will be in force in the OTC region.

We need to work with OTC on a “fix” for this issue. One solution may be that all states should be made to adopt the 2014 Model rule before the new 2018 Model rule can be adopted by anyone. SPRAY