Regulatory Issues

Written on: October 1, 2023 by Doug Raymond

Industry awaits the California Air Resources Board (CARB) release of its next survey request. It was expected to be released during the Summer, but Summer has come and gone and there is still no survey. From discussions with CARB staff, it’s thought that the survey might cover products used during the COVID-19 pandemic to determine if the sales levels of cleaning products, hand sanitizers and disinfectants had returned to normal.

Likewise, CARB had stated that categories that had been dropped during the last rulemaking may resurface. However, to date, that has not happened. CARB staff has been busy reviewing the use of toxins in product categories. Therefore, this next survey may be larger and somewhat different than what Industry had been expecting.

Due to the last State Implementation Plan (SIP), staff will bring before the Board in 2027 a plan to reduce further emissions from Consumer Products. While 2027 seems far off, rulemaking can take 18–24 months to complete. Throw in a survey that then needs to be completed by Industry and reviewed by CARB staff, which could take a year, and it brings us to a three-year time frame. CARB staff only needs to have a plan to reduce emissions by 2027, not complete a rulemaking (the rulemaking could take place after the report to the Board). Hopefully, this will be the case because the time needed to complete a comprehensive rulemaking is dwindling.

We should see a survey released this Fall. CARB is scheduled to present at the Western Aerosol Information Bureau (WAIB) meeting this month in Lake Tahoe and will certainly be asked about the survey at that time.

Other U.S. States
Ohio and Michigan regulations become effective this year. Both States moved from Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) Model Rule II to OTC Model Rule IV. Make sure you have adjusted the sale of your products to comply with these rules.

There is still no final rule in Clark County, NV.

As a reminder, the Canadian Consumer Product Regulation becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2024. While it is similar to the CARB regulation, there are some differences, which will be detailed in next month’s column.

On Sept. 6, the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA) held a meeting in London on Air Quality. The issues of Air Quality and volatile organic compound (VOC) reduction have been evolving in the UK for several years. The issue is not that aerosol VOC emissions are growing significantly in the UK, but that other sources of emissions are being reduced, such as vehicle and industrial emissions. This is similar to the situation we in the U.S. find ourselves in, especially in the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Consumer Product emissions soon will be the primary category in SCAQMD.

BAMA has been formulating a plan that will assist Industry in working with regulators to prevent the type of regulation currently in place in California. The goal is for Industry to develop a strategy to reduce emissions from aerosols in different ways. For example, one strategy would be to compress or concentrate an aerosol product so that it could potentially offer double the amount of uses. By doing this, fewer cans will be used, thus fewer emissions will be produced. This will take time and we’ll have to re-educate consumers on how to use the product all over again.

There were two presentations during the London meeting; the first explained the use of dimethyl ether (DME) to replace some solvents with water, thus lowering VOC emissions. This is nothing new in the U.S., as most manufacturers use this technique where possible.

The second presentation was on the use of N2 (nitrogen) or compressed gas. This technique, as we know, is very controversial because when compressed gas is used, more diluent is then needed. Typically, especially for Personal Care products (which was the example), ethanol is used. As we have learned, replacing liquified propellants with ethanol raises a product’s reactivity, thus creating more ozone formation, which is not the goal. Also, removing liquefied propellants and adding ethanol does very little to remove overall VOC emissions.

I credit BAMA with working with regulators before actual regulations are formed. In addition, BAMA is trying to encourage Industry to start working on this issue now to possibly prevent aerosol regulation in the future. Their goal is lofty, but is worthy of merit, and we wish them luck. SPRAY