Regulatory Issues

Written on: August 1, 2020 by Doug Raymond

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff continues to work on amendments to its volatile organic compound (VOC) Consumer Products regulation. For more than a year, CARB has been reviewing product categories for potentially reducing VOC content. In November 2019, CARB narrowed the categories and then proposed more changes in April 2020. Currently, CARB is looking to reduce or regulate the following:

• Hair Spray                                            • Aerosol Automatic Air Freshener
• No Rinse Shampoo                              • Concentrated Air Freshener
• Hair Shine                                            • Total Release Air Freshener
• Temporary Hair Colorant                      • Personal Fragrance Products (≤ 10% fragrance)
• Manual Aerosol Air Freshener              • Aerosol Crawling Bug Insecticide

Additionally—as explained in last month’s column—CARB is discussing using company websites to determine product categories. This will add a whole new dimension to your company’s constant compliance review because any claim put on the website could be used by CARB enforcement to categorize your product into a lower VOC limit category.

Also, CARB staff is proposing to remove the 2% fragrance exemption for all products. Currently, up to 2% fragrance used in most products is not counted toward the VOC limit. CARB plans to sunset this in the future. Industry is pushing back and requesting a 0.5% fragrance exemption to replace the current 2% exemption. Industry has also asked for the use of manufacturing-only products to be clearly exempted by this regulation. CARB is discussing this request.

Further, CARB is attempting to further restrict the use of chlorinated solvents in energized electrical cleaners. This is a hard issue to define and more work is needed.

CARB webinars
CARB held three webinars in July. The July 2 webinar concerned changes to Method 310, a laboratory method that is used to determine the VOC content in consumer products and aerosol coatings. The great news is that CARB laboratory staff stated there will not be changes to the test methods for low vapor pressure (LVP) compound test methods. This is a significant relief to many manufacturers and marketers.

On July 9, CARB held a webinar to discuss the sunsetting of the 2% Fragrance Exemption. The update included web-based claims and an amendment to the Energized Electrical Cleaner Definition. More on this in the next issue of SPRAY.

During the July 28 webinar, CARB staff presented its draft of the final proposed Consumer Products Regulations amendments, including its proposal to set or lower VOC content limits for Hair Care Products (hair finishing sprays, dry shampoos, hair shine enhancers and temporary hair colors), Personal Fragrance Products, Manual Aerosol Air Fresheners and Aerosol Crawling Bug Insecticides, as well proposed regulatory changes to improve program implementation.

This is CARB’s final proposal, meaning making any changes after July 28, 2020 will get exponentially harder—and near impossible as we head into CARB’s Fall Board hearing.

Finally, it appears that the Board hearing to approve these amendments will be delayed until January 2021 (from November 2020). If your products will be affected, now is the time to speak up; time is running out.

HFC State Rules
States have slowed down their activity considerably on the issue of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). However, as SPRAY goes to press, it appears that by the end of July, Washington State will have adopted its HFC rule. It is important for industry to monitor these regulations. SPRAY