Regulatory Issues

Written on: May 1, 2024 by Doug Raymond

New York
On March 13, the State of New York held a webinar to accept comments on amendments to 6 NYCRR Part 494 on the use of hydrofluorocarbon substances (HFCs). This affects aerosol products and small containers of automotive refrigerants. The amendments mainly align with the newly-finalized Technology Transitions Program by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The main comments affecting aerosols made during the webinar were:

• Industry recommends that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) use the 100-year Global Warming Potential (GWP) instead of the 20-year GWP numbers
• Supports alignment with EPA’s American Innovation & Manufacturing (AIM) Act Technology Transition Rule
• Oppose the restriction of low GWP compounds in Aerosol Products
• Industry requests clarity on labeling

Now we wait to see if any changes are made.

On March 20, Industry met with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to discuss upcoming activities. As we have reported for months, there was no news on the upcoming survey. However, a new wrinkle has presented itself: Liang Liu, one of the managers under Chief Ravi Ramalingam took another position within CARB, leaving Ramalingam without a manager to oversee the development of the survey. Currently, the survey is moving forward, but Ramalingam does not plan to have the survey released until the new manager is in place. This could take a while as the hiring protocol for CARB is extensive. The process has been going on since January and will likely not finish until at least the end of April, if not longer.

In the meantime, Industry can only speculate on what will be on the survey. Products containing parachlorobenzotrifluoride (PCBTF), or other toxic compounds, will likely be surveyed, as well products used heavily during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as cleaners, disinfectants and sanitizers. Some other likely candidates for the survey are paint strippers, floor strippers, aerosol sunscreens and other products dropped in the last rulemaking.

Industry then discussed the issue of reactivity. CARB staff is in the process of developing a new way to formulate reactivity limits for product categories. It will take a significant effort to develop this process; however, the good news is that the concept of reactivity
appears to be finally being taken seriously as an available alternative way to regulate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in consumer products. The use of reactivity has two positive benefits. First, reactivity typically provides more flexibility for consumer products formulators as many more compounds are available for use rather than just exempt compounds, LVPs and water. Second, any reduction in the Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR) means an actual reduction in ozone formation, which reduces smog. This is the goal of VOC reduction as the reduction in VOC percentage does not necessarily reduce ozone formation.

The last topic discussed with Ramalingam was that the current list of MIR values would likely need to be updated. How CARB plans to do this is not known at this time. We will monitor this closely.

EPA American Innovation & Manufacturing Act (AIM)
Less than a year from now, HFCs in aerosols will have restrictions. As a reminder, effective Jan. 1, 2025, EPA is restricting the use of all HFCs with a GWP greater than 150 in aerosol products except for the categories listed on p. 40, which will have until Jan. 1, 2028. This includes an extension for the use of HFC-43-10 mee and HFC-245fa in aerosols until January 1, 2028.

Categories with extensions include:

• Cleaning products for removal of grease, flux, and other soils from electrical equipment or electronics;
• Refrigerant flushes;
• Products for sensitivity testing of smoke detectors;
• Lubricants and freeze sprays for electrical equipment or electronics;
• Sprays for aircraft maintenance;
• Sprays containing corrosion preventive compounds used in the maintenance of aircraft, electrical equipment or electronics, or military equipment;
• Pesticides for use near electrical wires or in aircraft, in total release insecticide foggers, or in certified organic use pesticides for which EPA has specifically disallowed all other lower-GWP propellants;
• Mold release agents and mold cleaners;
• Lubricants and cleaners for spinnerets for synthetic fabrics;
• Duster sprays specifically for removal of dust from photo-graphic negatives, semiconductor chips, specimens under electron microscopes, and energized electrical equipment;
• Adhesives and sealants in large canisters;
• Document preservations sprays;
• Topical coolant sprays for pain relief; and
• Products for removing bandage adhesives from skin.

Remember HFC-152a has a GWP of less than 150 GWP, thus it is not restricted under this rule. Lastly, products manufactured or imported before their respective effective date of 1/1/25 or 1/1/28 have a three-year sell-through period. SPRAY