Regulatory Issues

Written on: October 1, 2020 by Doug Raymond

As reported last month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff held a workshop on July 28 to release its final working draft for amendments to the Consumer Products volatile organic compounds (VOC) regulation; work continues on this.

CARB staff also continues to work with Industry stakeholders on VOC limits and effective dates. This is a zero-sum regulation, meaning the VOC reductions not attained by a product category are then required to be attained from another product category. This is a difficult task for both Industry and CARB alike. Currently, as proposed, CARB will achieve the required tonnage reduction needed by the State Implementation Plan (SIP). However, if a proposed product category cannot achieve these VOC limits, then other product categories will be reviewed for reduction options.

For Example, CARB has proposed that Personal Fragrance Products (PFP) containing less than 10% fragrance need to obtain a 50% VOC level by 2031. This category needs to obtain a 5.05 ton per day (TPD) emission reduction—a very tough feat to accomplish. To put this into perspective, CARB is looking to get 9.88 TPD total from all categories in this regulation. Thus, the PFP category is responsible for more than half of the emission reductions being sought by CARB. CARB also intends to have a technology review on this category around 2026. This means that if CARB determines that PFP cannot achieve the 50% VOC limit, then its staff can modify the VOC limit. If this happens, and the emission reductions are not achieved, CARB has no choice but to look for emission reductions from other categories.

Product manufacturers should be aware of this issue and monitor CARB activity because their products may once again come under CARB scrutiny for emission reductions.

A further issue that CARB staff is pursuing is a definition amendment of the term “label” to include a company website. If CARB is successful—and it appears it will be—then CARB Enforcement will be able to use all claims on your website to categorize your product into a category. This could mean that although your product is intended and formulated to meet a certain product category, due to certain claims on your website, CARB now categorizes your product into a different product category with a much lower VOC limit. This will open up a product manufacturer to an enforcement action and monetary fine. As an Industry, we should take a very close look at this issue and comment to CARB. At the very least, we need to ask for a delay in the effective date to have time to review and correct any website errors.

The next steps are the following:

• Final Workshop: This is not yet scheduled as SPRAY goes to press, but it will likely be held in October 2020
• Dec. 4, 2020: CARB will release its Initial Statement of Reasons for a 45-day public comment period.
• January 2021: There will be a CARB Board hearing to adopt the proposed amendments.

This process started in May 2019 and therefore we have been working on these amendments for nearly 18 months. Time is running out to make any changes. I suggest that if these amendments affect your company, now is the time to comment.

California Legislation
California Legislature was trying to pass a single-use container bill that wouldn’t currently affect the aerosol industry, but is being written in a way that leaves the
door open for amendments to regulate aerosols in the future.


It states that the industries that make and sell containers are responsible for ensuring that they get recycled. This sounds great, but there is currently little infrastructure to handle this type of  recycling effort and no mechanism to pay for it.

These bills are Assembly Bill 1080 and Senate Bill 54. Nicole Quiñonez from Madden Quiñonez Advocacy provided the following update:

The end of the session came, and the bills were not passed. AB 1080 passed out of the Senate but the Assembly never took it up for concurrence. SB 54 was held with 37 votes as the clock ran out. We have a lot of work ahead of us to come up with a solution, but what a huge win!   SPRAY