On Feb. 26, The California Air Resources Board (CARB) had its first workgroup meeting of 2020. To refresh your memory, on Nov. 7, 2019, CARB had a workshop and released a rulemaking proposal, which it had been refining throughout December and January. To date, it has not modified this proposal. CARB staff has been waiting for Industry to provide insight on this proposal; however, to date, it does not appear that there has been any significant input from Industry.
At the Feb. 26 meeting, the majority of time was spent on definitions and other issues rather than volatile organic compound (VOC) limits for the categories. Discussions included:
• Institutional & Industrial (I&I) product definitions, which have been a point of confusion throughout the Industry. For CARB, all products in the I&I category are covered by this rule except for products used in the manufacturing process. For Industry, most janitorial or commercial products are not considered consumer products. Hence, the confusion. CARB and Industry are trying to work out a reasonable solution to clarify this issue. The good news is that CARB and Industry agree on intent, but we need to find a way to clearly define this category.
• CARB wants to restrict the sale of energized electrical cleaners to establishments that operate or maintain energized electrical equipment. CARB is proposing this provision to restrict the use of chlorinated compounds, which are still allowed in this product category. This will be difficult to do. We know the intent, but how do you describe this in writing? This will be extremely tough to accomplish.
• The Paint Thinner issue is another area of confusion. For years, Industry believed products labeled for use in the Marine and Automotive categories were not covered by Paint Thinner regulation. However, in recent years, there seems to be a difference of opinion between CARB and Industry. This rulemaking should clarify the issue, indicating that not all Marine and Automotive thinners are exempt from this rule, only thinners used exclusively as an ingredient in a specific coating.
• Changes to the Alternative Control Plan (ACP) and Innovative Product Exemption (IPE) were proposed.
• Last, but not least, is the huge issue of CARB wanting to modify the existing regulation to add web-based claims for consideration to classify a product into a product category. Currently, CARB can only use the label and any promotional information attached to the product. This is a very big change. CARB enforcement could use your website to determine a product category. Thus, all claims on your website would need to be reviewed very closely. Industry had significant opposition to this proposal.
On March 10, CARB held its second workgroup meeting of the year. The agenda and slides for this workgroup meeting can be found here. This workgroup meeting focused on Hair Care products, Air Fresheners, Personal Fragrance Products and the 2% Fragrance Exemption.
On March 19, CARB was to hold yet another workgroup meeting focused on test methods, chlorinated product categories, the Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR) table additions, possible phase-out of HFC-152a and the use of compressed gas propellant. It was postponed due to recommendations from the California Department of Public Health regarding COVID-19.
Lastly, CARB will likely have a workshop in April to provide a draft of its proposed amendments for this rulemaking in regulatory language. This will be the beginning of the formal rulemaking proposal. This means that Industry has less than a month to get this proposal into shape.
Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Regulations
Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) rule was overturned, States have been waiting for EPA to reissue the regulation, which it has failed to do. Therefore, 15 States have started to implement regulations or legislation on HFC-134a, but are in different stages of adoption. The good news is that most States are copying the original SNAP rule. However, these States’
activities need to be monitored to make sure that no undue provisions affect our products.
Other VOC State Activity
New York is proposing to amend its VOC Consumer Products Rule, with hearings suggested around the State in April. We will need to monitor this activity closely. SPRAY