Regulatory Issues

Written on: August 1, 2023 by Doug Raymond

Friendly reminder, Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC) adopted the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulation. This is the Canadian version of the VOC regulation for Consumer Products. This rule was adopted in 2022 and comes into effect Jan. 1, 2024 for the majority of products. For Disinfectants, the regulation comes into Jan. 1, 2025.

There are approximately 130 product categories and subcategories that will be affected. This regulation was developed using the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Regulation on VOC for Consumer Products from 2010. However, this regulation should be reviewed carefully. While the Product Category VOC limits are similar, the definitions are somewhat different. The CARB definitions are very specific and detailed for the Product Categories. The ECCC definitions are not as detailed, which, depending on your product, could be a benefit or detriment.

Numerous product category definitions are similar, but some of the product category definitions are loosely defined, typically not detailing what is not included in the category. A perfect example is the Spot Remover definition. Under CARB, Spot Remover only pertains to cloth or fabrics. However, in Canada, the Spot Remover product category does not have any description. Thus, a Spot Remover could include products used for hard surfaces. Does this help your company’s products or hurt those products? More importantly, how will Canadian Enforcement perceive these products? Will there be Canadian Enforcement? Only time will tell.

There are only four months left to get products in compliance with this Regulation.

Ozone Transport Commission
On June 14, the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) held its annual meeting virtually. The OTC is a multi-State organization composed of 12 States and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also a non-voting member of the OTC. This organization deals with air issues throughout the Northeast States to keep regulations consistent. OTC has five model regulations that affect VOC limits in Consumer Products. Most States have adopted either Model Rule II or Model Rule IV. Currently, only Colorado has adopted Model Rule V—as a contingency measure only.

During the meeting, the Stationary Source Committee reported that no new Model Rule Development is planned for Consumer Products as this time, which is good news for our Industry. However, this does not mean that States within the OTC will not update their own State Regulations. For example, New Jersey will likely update its Model Rule II to Model Rule IV this year. However, there has been no news on this proposal yet.

Lately, CARB has been quiet on the Consumer Products VOC front. CARB has stated that it will be releasing a Consumer Products Survey sometime this year for use in a future rule-making. Exactly what products will be surveyed is not known at this time; we can only speculate based on CARB comments.

These products include those used heavily during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as hand cleaners, disinfectants and similar cleaning products. Also, from discussions with CARB, it appears as if the Aerosol Coatings category may be reviewed for further regulation. Whether these products will be in the survey or not is yet to be determined.

Finally, there were numerous questions from CARB concerning sunscreens during our Aerosol 101 with the organization in May; therefore, it will be no surprise if these products appear on the survey. SPRAY