Regulatory Issues

Written on: February 1, 2023 by Doug Raymond

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted the American Innovation & Manufacturing Act (AIM) on Dec. 27, 2020. On Dec. 15, 2022, EPA released its next installment of the proposed rulemaking that restricts the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); comments were due by Jan. 30, 2023. For the aerosol industry, the concern is the use of HFCs in aerosol products.

As a reminder, HFCs are considered potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Of importance to the aerosol industry is the phase down of HFC-134a and HFC-152a.

Phase down schedule of Baseline
2022–2023 90%
2024–2028 60%
2029–2033 30%
2034–2035 20%
2036 15%

Therefore, in 2024 there will be a large reduction (40% from the total) in the consumption and production of HFCs. The allocation rule was released in October 2022.

On Dec. 30, 2022, EPA held a virtual meeting to take public comment on this new proposed rule for the Transition Rule under the AIM Act.

This rule will affect where and when certain HFCs can be used in certain products. For the Aerosol category, the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) and the National Aerosol Association (NAA) jointly petitioned the EPA to maintain the same exceptions for use of mainly HFC-134a in aerosols, the same exceptions as were in the original Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) rule. These exceptions included smoke detector testing products, energized electrical products, certain lubricants and cleaners for spinnerets, freeze sprays, refrigerant flushes and other aerosol products.

There were 224 people at the Dec. 30 virtual meeting, but only a few presented testimony. Most comments were brief and stated that there was more to come. Those of us in the Aerosol Industry need to comment heavily to EPA if we want to maintain the exceptions that we currently have. In EPA’s proposal, they are suggesting removal of all uses of HFC-134a and replacing these uses with HFC-152a.

EPA did change the use of HFC-134a for use in Imported Goods as of Jan. 1, 2025. As of now,
Aerosol Product finished goods containing HFC-134a imported after Jan. 1, 2025 will be banned.

On Jan. 4, 2023, California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff held a virtual meeting with three associations to discuss the results of the 2018 Aerosol Coating & Aerosol Adhesive Products Survey. The American Coatings Association (ACA), HCPA and NAA were all in attendance, along with approximately 10 CARB personnel and 30 industry and association representatives.

Industry raised numerous questions concerning some of the survey results especially in the Flat, Fluorescent, Flexible and Ground & Traffic Marking categories. CARB staff reviewed industry comments and survey results; some of the oddities in the survey results were then explained. For example, all of the wall texture products are in the Flat Category, which moved the Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR) values down and increased the number of products. CARB staff supplied numerous documents indicating that a significant amount of work had been put into the review. CARB does not have these documents on its website yet, but feel free to contact me directly and I will send them to you.

CARB then reviewed the Aerosol Adhesive survey data. This was a much shorter review and the data was disappointing, as it showed—from 2010 to 2018—a significant drop in the number of companies selling aerosol adhesive products and the number of products being sold. This is the type of information we need to gather to show that CARB regulations have a negative impact on our industry.

State of Colorado
The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission held a three-day meeting in December to discuss adopting further Consumer Product volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations into its State Implementation Plan (SIP). Colorado is proposing to move to Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) Model V for Consumer Product VOC regulations. This proposal will only take place if Colorado does not attain compliance by the applicable, severe attainment date, which is likely two years out. The issue here is when and how the State of Colorado will notify our Industry. We will need to monitor Colorado closely for further activity. SPRAY