Regulatory Issues

Written on: January 1, 2024 by Doug Raymond

Happy New Year! As the New Year begins, we have a new Canadian volatile organic compound (VOC) Consumer Products Regulation, we will need to continue to deal with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and will work with Nevada’s Clark County, Oregon and (likely) New Jersey on VOC Regulations. Lastly, we will need to work through the American Innovation & Manufacturing (AIM) Act on the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). It looks like 2024 will be another very busy year—and we haven’t even mentioned PFAS yet!

Industry continues to wait for the release of the newest CARB survey on product categories for the next rule-making development. Industry fully expected it to be out by now, but one thing after another has delayed the survey.

At first, we expected only categories that had been dropped in the last rule making and categories affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, in the Spring of 2023, an article on toxics affected the survey and what categories might need to be added. During the Summer of 2023, we got lucky and the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Cleaning Bill was vetoed. We still need to deal with parachlorobenzotrifluoride (PCBTF) and other toxic chemicals, however. CARB staff is working hard to develop the new list of survey categories. It should be a safe assumption that the survey will be out during Q1 2024.

In normal form, at the end of this column readers will find information to submit date codes to CARB if the standard date code is not used.

Other U.S. States
Newcomers to the VOC scene are Clark County, NV, which proposed a new VOC proposal a few weeks ago.

Then there is Oregon, which is considering adopting OTC Model Rule IV— the strictest of the OTC rules—or going right to the CARB current rule. This has never been done before; we will continue to follow this development with interest.

New Jersey will likely just move from OTC Model Rule II to OTC Model Rule IV. We expect activity to start soon in The Garden State.

The new Canadian Consumer Products VOC Regulation became effective on Jan. 1, 2024. The product categories are poorly defined, but the VOC limits are consistent with Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) or CARB limits. The unknown here is what type of enforcement we will see from Canada. Will it be strict and overbearing like CARB, or will it be flexible and more forgiving, considering the drastic changes in product categories?

Remember, CARB has had 30 years to slowly make changes to product categories, while Canada is making changes all at once—overnight, actually. It should be an interesting year.

The AIM Act has the deadline of Jan. 1, 2025, for most aerosols to remove high Global Warming Potential (GWP) compounds, such as HFC-134a. There is a list of exceptions and certain aerosol products may continue to use HFC-134a until Jan. 1, 2028. This list of exceptions is the same as the one associated with the old Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) Rule. Considering reformulating now.

CARB Date Code
Here comes my friendly annual reminder about Product Dating/Date coding. Make sure your company is up-to-date on date code filings, as CARB is on the lookout and is increasingly strict in this area.

Date code information needs to be reported to CARB every year by your company if you do not use CARB’s standard date coding. California Section 94512 (b) product dating specifically requires all consumer products destined to be sold into the State to display the day, month and year the product was manufactured or a code indicating the date. CARB has been increasing its investigative activity and levying fines for non-compliance of this section.

The date or date-code information shall be located on the container or inside the cover/cap so that it is readily observable or obtainable (by simply removing the cap/cover) without irreversibly disassembling any part of the container or packaging. Information may be displayed on the bottom of a container as long as it is clearly legible without removing any product packaging.

CARB’s standard code must be represented separately from other codes on the product container so that it is easily recognizable. It should read YY DDD = Year Year Day Day Day. A manufacturer who uses this standard CARB code to indicate the date of manufacture does not have to report this code.

Failure to register a date code is subject to a fine, which seems to increase every year. Your date code explanation needs to be submitted to CARB Enforcement on an annual basis, on or before Jan. 31 of each year. Send it by email to: SPRAY