Regulatory Issues

Written on: November 1, 2020 by Doug Raymond

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) saga continues with the amendments to the Consumer Products volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations. Work with CARB staff continues; in July 2020, CARB had a workshop and released new VOC limits for the product categories that it is targeting. Since that time, Industry has supplied comments to CARB staff.

CARB had indicated that the next and final workshop via webinar would be held toward the end of October, but as SPRAY goes to press, it appears that CARB will likely delay the next workshop to November. This means that the rulemaking will likely also be delayed. CARB intended to have the Initial Statement of Reasons (ISOR—a document that CARB needs prepared before the 45-day public comment period starts) prepared by Dec. 5, 2020. If the CARB workshop is delayed until November, it is very likely that its staff will not be ready with the ISOR by then.

Dec. 5 is less than a month after the workshop and this would not be enough time for Industry to submit comments or, more importantly, for CARB to consider the comments. Thus, if the ISOR does not go out in December, the Board hearing cannot be held in January 2021. This is because it is required that the public have a 45-day comment period on the CARB official draft proposal. Therefore, the rulemaking will likely be delayed until February. However, given the inevitable delays of the holiday season, my prediction is that a Board hearing to adopt these proposed amendments won’t be until March of 2021.

So where are we on the current proposal?
The categories set for VOC reductions, as well as updated definitions, are: Aerosol Air Fresheners, Hair Sprays, Dry Shampoo, Hair Shine, Temporary Hair Color, Personal Fragrances and Crawling Bug Insecticide. VOC limits for all of these are set, as well. It is unlikely that there will be much—if any—change to the proposed VOC limits.

Other Issues
The 2% Fragrance Exemption will likely be sunset by 2031 with very few exceptions. Any exceptions will most likely get a 0.25% exemption—but if you are not in there fighting for this now, do not expect it!
Websites may be used to determine categories. This is a hot topic right now, so please weigh in. Industry needs support to delay this issue.
Addition of chlorinated compound bans on these proposed VOC categories. This is likely not an issue because chlorinated compounds are not used in these products.
Prohibition of use of compounds with a global warming potential (GWP)>150 for the proposed product categories. Again, this is not likely an issue, as these compounds are not currently used in these categories.
Prohibition of the use of parachlorobenzotrifluoride (PCBTF) in these regulated categories. Again, this is likely not an issue.
Innovative Product Exemption (IPE). CARB is considering an amendment to encourage the use of compressed gases. We have not seen anything yet, but this could be a big issue!
Addition of compounds to maximum incremental reactivity (MIR) table, with Diethyl Carbonate, HFO-1233zd and Alkane mix to be added. This is a good thing, as more use of reactivity is good for Industry.

These are the major issues we are still dealing with. Stay tuned for more information in the
next issue. SPRAY