Regulatory Issues

Written on: February 1, 2022 by Doug Raymond

Canada VOC Regulation
The final regulation on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for consumer products in Canada was released on Jan. 15, 2022. The regulation is called Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations. This regulation has been in the development stage for the better part of a decade. The agency that developed this regulation is the Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Industry in the U.S. and Canada has been working in earnest with the ECCC for the last three years.

ECCC has used the California Air Resources Board (CARB) VOC limits on Consumer Products from 2010 as its baseline. However, ECCC did not use the CARB definitions. This has been a point of controversy for numerous years. Industry had requested that ECCC just take all CARB definitions, but ECCC refused, stating that it needs to put definitions and wording in plain language. The regulation is confusing, but the fact that the definitions are not identical could lead to some miscategorization and confusion for enforcement. We will need to work through these issues. Regulation highlights include:

• ECCC used CARB VOC limits for products.
• The effective date for VOC limits is Jan. 1, 2024, except for disinfectants, which have an effective date of Jan. 1, 2023. This gives Industry two years to get product into compliance with the new limits. Since these limits are the same as the CARB 2010 limits, manufacturers that sell into California will have products that comply. However, new labels and compliant products will need to be developed for the Canadian market.
• The good news is that any product manufactured before the effective date can be sold through without the need to recall any product.
• ECCC stated its intent to align with CARB regulation; this may be useful in an enforcement action.
• ECCC has placed alternative compliance options in the regulation, such as the Alternative Compliance Plan (ACP), Innovative Product Exemption (IPE) and Variance. However, the language is difficult to read.
• Windshield washer fluid not regulated.

Industry did make some changes to the definitions, but some are still not currently aligned with CARB. We need to get clarification on, or work on, the fact that regulation applies to any person who manufacturers or imports products into Canada. Requirements for the regulations are that records of manufacture need to be kept for five years (CARB requires only three years), but the records need to be kept in Canada. This could be a problem for manufacturers that do not have a Canadian place of business. This appears to be one of our most troublesome areas, even more troublesome than the definition issue.

The regulation can be found here.

Ohio VOC Regulation
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) recently published amendments to current Ohio regulations on VOCs in Consumer Products. The new amendments would change the current VOC regulation on Consumer Products from the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) Model Rule II to Model Rule IV, which is currently effective for many of the Northeast States. Comments were due on Jan. 25, 2022.

Petitions under AIM Act
Under the American Innovative & Manufacturing (AIM) Act, the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) and National Aerosol Association (NAA) jointly filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA will use the traditional notice and comment rulemaking procedure instead of negotiated rulemaking procedures. EPA will have stakeholder meetings on this rulemaking, which is good news. The rule needs to be promulgated by Oct. 7, 2023, by statute. SPRAY