June 2018

Regulatory Issues

Proposition 65

As a reminder, as of Aug. 30, 2018 the new wording for the Proposition 65 warning becomes effective. If you have products that require a Proposition 65 warning, then everything produced after Aug. 30, 2018 needs to have the new wording on the product.

Any product manufactured before this date that requires a warning (and that has the appropriate “old” wording) can be sold through without a problem. There are numerous changes. Make sure you are up-to-date on this issue. “Bounty hunters,” who are always out there looking to make money, are the ones that enforce Proposition 65.

Multi-purpose lubricants

On May 25, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a public hearing in Sacramento to hear amendments to the Consumer Products Regulation. The majority of the amendments deal with an alternative option to meet the multi-purpose lubricants (MPL) future effective limit of 10% mass based volatile organic compound (VOC) limit. The alternative option provides a reactivity option of a 0.45 maximum incremental reactivity (MIR) limit with a 25% VOC cap. The alternative option requires a registration of the formula and sales reporting for several years. It should provide the flexibility needed for manufacturers to provide effective MPL products to the consumer.

The 10% mass based VOC limit is still in place. The effective date for the 10% VOC limit and the 0.45 MIR alternative limits have been delayed until July 1, 2019. More on this next month.

CARB Survey Results

As we go to press, we are still waiting for the results of Consumer Product Surveys from 2013, 2014 and 2015. CARB has stated that these results will have been out by May 25.

This data will show the industry what products will be targeted for the next Rule Development, which should begin this autumn and go through 2020.

Hopefully this new data will contradict to some extent the article in Science magazine that stated that Consumer Product Emissions are drastically higher than previously thought.

CARB Preliminary VOC Fee

On May 3, CARB mailed out the 2018–2019 CARB Preliminary VOC Fee (industry calls this a “VOC tax”). This notice went to all companies that sold more than 250 tons of VOCs in Consumer Products in California during calendar year 2016. The 2014 survey data was used to estimate the 2016 fee emissions.

If you do not believe your emissions are as high as CARB estimated, then you need to respond to CARB within 60 days to dispute the emission estimate. After that, you will have to pay the fee as estimated.

EPA

On May 4 in Washington, DC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a stakeholders meeting to address the vacatur and remand of the 2015 SNAP rule. On April 27, 2018, the EPA released its Guidance Document (Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Notice of Guidance & a Stakeholder Meeting Concerning the Significant New Alternatives Policy [SNAP] Program).

At the meeting, several industry personnel spoke. The majority commented on their desire for certainty regarding the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The EPA stated the purpose of the Guidance document and the meeting was to provide clarity on this issue. When asked if the Guidance document provides the vacatur for the industry to use HFCs previously restricted by SNAP Rule 20, EPA answered “Yes.” The EPA stated that until it comes back with a new rule, the use of HFC-134a in aerosols is acceptable.

This was a little surprising because, after review, the Guidance did not clearly appear to be the vacatur. However, in further discussions, it was noted that this is the only document that the EPA intends to release. The EPA was even asked if it plans to reissue SNAP Rule 20 with the portion of the rule vacated due to the court decision. EPA answered “No,” referring to its Guidance document.

Therefore, it appears that the SNAP Rule 20 has been vacated concerning the use of the restricted HFCs, especially HFC-134a. All this being said, please review everything with your legal council before proceeding.

OTC

The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) has released its new model rule, which captures almost all of the current CARB categories except the future effective limit and date for multi-purpose lubricants. This is Phase V of the OTC’s rule makings. The model rule is only out for a short period of time with 10 days for comment.

The issue here is why start another rule-making when most states have not adopted the previous “Phases”? It makes no sense and creates a patchwork of regulations for the industry.

Canada

Canada will begin a rulemaking this year on VOCs in Consumer Products. Canada has stated that it will take all of the CARB Consumer Product categories, including MPL, for adoption, likely by the end of the year.

This is an unreasonable feat and one that needs to be monitored and acted on in the next couple of months. Stay tuned!  SPRAY