Regulatory Issues

Written on: July 1, 2024 by Doug Raymond

In May, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) held two workgroup meetings.

May 21
SCAQMD staff held its second workgroup meeting concerning Rule 1151 Automotive Refinish Coatings. SCAQMD is attempting to prohibit parachlorobenzotrifluoride (PCBTF) and tertiary butyl acetate (tBAc) from Automotive Refinish Coatings. SCAQMD amended its rule 1168 on Adhesives last year to accomplish the same task.

For Rule 1151, SCAQMD is considering raising the volatile organic compound (VOC) limits higher in certain categories to make it easier for manufacturers to reformulate without PCBTF and tBAc. This is a significant move for SCAQMD, as raising VOC limits is not something that it usually does. The higher limits for these coating categories would be either the current European VOC limit or the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) VOC limit for Refinish Coatings. By raising the category limits, SCAQMD staff will be able to phase out these compounds at a much faster pace; staff is currently considering a two-year phase-out schedule to eliminate PCBTF and tBAc.

SCAQMD will initially raise the VOC limits for certain categories that have PCBTF and tBAc so that formulators can remove these compounds with VOCs. SCAQMD will then set another schedule to once again lower these certain categories where the VOC is being raised. It is a two-step process. Ultimately, SCAQMD wants VOC limits to return to where they are now.

May 29
This workgroup meeting pertained to Rule 1171 Solvent Cleaning, which is similar to Rule 1151 and Rule 1168, and was developed to phase out the use of PCBTF and tBAc. However, SCAQMD staff found little use of these two compounds in Solvent Cleaning products. Thus, the focus has changed.

SCAQMD staff is now focused on the 160 fluid ounce/per day exemption for Aerosol Products, which has been in the Rule since 1996. Staff has found aerosol product that exceeds its 25g/l limit but meets current California Air Resources Board (CARB) limits for the Aerosol Products category. It is worth noting that some of the products found may exceed CARB limits for Aerosol Products; if true, the products could then be subject to enforcement actions.

Currently, staff believes removing the exemption could have an effect on small cleaning operations, as well as dealerships and auto repair/collision repair shops.

Staff has stated that its next meeting is set for the third quarter and the Board hearing to finalize the rule is set for the fourth quarter. Thus, we need to review this exemption quickly and get comments back to SCAQMD.

For months now, we have shared information on the EPA American Innovation & Manufacturing (AIM) Act. As a reminder, as of Jan. 1, 2025, EPA is restricting the use of all hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) greater than 150 in aerosol products (some categories are an exception, and will have until Jan. 1, 2028, to utilize HFCs higher than 150 GWP).

Therefore, as of Jan. 1, 2028, all aerosols can only use HFCs with a GWP of 150 or less. This includes an extension for the use of HFC-43-10mee and HFC-245fa in aerosols until Jan. 1, 2028. Remember, HFC-152a has a less-than 150 GWP and therefore is not restricted under this rule.

First labeling reminder
Companies need to be aware that the use of any HFC, including HFC-152a, for any aerosol product—other than technical aerosol products listed in the rule, metered dose inhalers and defense sprays—the label must disclose the HFC[s] that are in the product, starting Jan. 1, 2025. For the technical products listed in the rule, the label must disclose the HFC[s] that are in the product starting Jan. 1, 2028.

It is important to note that the deadlines—including label disclosure—are for products manufactured on those dates and beyond. There are no restrictions on products manufactured before those dates under the AIM Act (although please be aware of the restrictions/requirements that individual States may have on certain HFCs). SPRAY