Regulatory Issues

Written on: December 1, 2021 by Doug Raymond

California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff continues to work on finalizing its last rule development. New volatile organic compound (VOC) limits are in place for Hair Spray, Dry Shampoo, Personnel Fragrance and Aerosol Air Freshener. Even though the rule development has not gone through its final stages, these new VOC limits become effective as of Jan. 1, 2023, which is only 13 months from now. Thus, if your company sells these products, you should be working on reformulating products to meet these stringent new VOC limits. As always, there is a three-year sell-through for all product produced before Jan. 1, 2023.

2022 State Implementation Plan
Just when you thought CARB was done with Consumer Products regulation for a while, more crops up. On Oct. 19, 2021, CARB staff held a Public Workshop on the State of California’s new State Implementation Plan (SIP)—future regulatory measures to attain its 70 parts per billion (ppb) 8-hour ozone requirement. This means the State of California is planning for more regulations to come into compliance with Federal mandates for clean air. This plan will require actions (regulations) to be developed by Air Districts, CARB and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet the
70 (ppb) ozone standard.

Consumer Products will be just one area where further regulation will be required. CARB will be requiring more stringent regulations on mobile source control (automobiles and trucks). These measures will include zero emissions and near zero emission requirements. CARB will also petition action on primarily Federally regulated sources (ships and rail cars).

However, CARB will be looking to Consumer Products for more emission reductions. As reported last month, Ravi Ramalingam, Chief of the Consumer Product Branch for CARB, presented a glimpse of this work to be done at the Western Aerosol Information Bureau (WAIB) meeting that was held in September. At the Oct. 19 workshop, CARB stated, “VOC emissions from Consumer Products now exceed those from any other emission source category.” This means we have a big target on our (Consumer Products) back.

CARB will be seeking further emission reductions from Consumer Products to support ozone attainment in the South Coast and elsewhere in California. We have known for years that Consumer Products in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) have been significant. CARB plans to conduct additional targeted product surveys on Consumer Product categories to guide its rule development.

CARB plans to ensure these further emission reductions with state-of-science measures. Does this mean Reactivity? CARB further stated, “Staff will consider opportunities for ozone formation reductions from already regulated product categories as well as previously unregulated categories.” Here we go again.

The good news is CARB staff also stated, “Given the maturity of the Consumer Products Program and success in reducing the VOC content of well over 100 categories of products, securing necessary further emission reductions from already regulated categories may be challenging.” CARB then said it will also be challenging to regulate previously unregulated categories, as well. This is all great news; CARB stated lack reformulation options, low VOC content, high cost of reformulation or poor cost effectiveness as reasons to limit further Consumer Product regulations. I cannot agree more with these reasons.

To date, CARB has not stated any required amount of VOC reduction for Consumer Products, but has stated that issues such as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions will be reduced, if possible.

CARB staff also stated that VOC limits and reactivity-based limits will be considered—again, this great news.

We need to monitor this issue very closely over the next 6–7 months to make sure industry is not required to address a large VOC reduction that cannot be met. More to come!

New York
Remember the New York State Consumer Products VOC regulation becomes effective as of Jan. 1, 2022. The VOC limits are very similar, if not exact, to other OTC States such as Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Colorado and Utah.

Any product produced before Jan. 1, 2022 has an unlimited sell-through in New York.

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays! SPRAY