Regulatory Issues

Written on: July 1, 2020 by Doug Raymond

California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff is continuing its work to develop amendments to its volatile organic compound (VOC) regulation. The majority of the time has been spent on reviewing product categories and the new VOC limits that have been proposed by the staff. This is a very important task. However, two other important issues have been pushed aside: the expansion of the label from the product label to a company website and the removal of the 2% fragrance exemption.

CARB staff has proposed to broaden the definition of a “label” to include a company website in order to categorize products. This is a significant development. It means that CARB enforcement can use a company’s website claims to categorize a product. This is a drastic change from current policy. Some issues to think about—currently, CARB Enforcement reviews a label. Any label claims that are made on the label are used to categorize a product into a specific VOC category. Now expand that to all claims made on your website that are legitimately made for your product intended for use in other States. How does CARB handle this, as well as claims made for your product in other countries? How about old claims still on your website? Not all companies regularly update their websites or sometimes claims get missed. This change could incur a large amount of money in fines. What about comments made by users of your product on your website? Is it the company’s responsibility to police these comments and remove comments on uses not intended for your product? This is an extremely complex issue. Currently, the wording proposed by CARB leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Fragrance Exemption
Currently, the use of 2% or less of fragrance in most consumer products is not counted toward the VOC limit. CARB has proposed removing this exemption altogether. This will also be a significant change for consumer product manufacturers. The removal of this provision means that each and every product that uses a fragrance will need to be reviewed  against the product category VOC limit. This will be an enormous amount of work for the aerosol industry. If the product is then close to the VOC limit or over, the manufacturer will need to contact the fragrance supplier for the amount of VOC in the fragrance. More work! The fragrance supplier then will need to calculate the VOC and report back to the customer. Again, more work! If this issue will affect your company, then you need to let CARB know. CARB will be proposing to have a webinar on this issue in early July (official date not available as SPRAY goes to press). Make sure you participate. In the meantime, CARB is continuing with this rulemaking and speaking with companies on these issues as well as VOC limits. Rule development is moving forward, so pay attention to these activities.

HFC State Rules
In May, Colorado adopted its State rule on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). As with most States, the regulation is similar to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) rule that was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The National Aerosol Association (NAA) and the Household & Consumer Products Association (HCPA) have been monitoring the proceedings of these States. SPRAY