Auto RefinishAutomobile Refinish Coatings VOC Rules

Section 183(e) of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from consumer and commercial products. VOC emissions contribute significantly to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog) which is associated with a wide variety of human health effects, agricultural crop loss, and damage to forests and ecosystems.

Regulations developed under section 183(e) must be based on "best available controls" (BAC). In the statute, BAC is defined as "The degree of emission reduction that the Administrator determines, on the basis of technological and economic feasibility, health, environmental, and energy impacts, is achievable through the application of the most effective equipment, measures, processes, methods, systems, or techniques, including chemical reformulation, product or feedstock substitution, repackaging, and directions for use, consumption, storage and disposal."

In September 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated a regulation to control volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from automobile refinish coatings. Coatings, such as primers and topcoats, are mostly used by painters at body shops to refinish cars and trucks. EPA developed the rule with extensive input from major stakeholders, including industry representatives and state and local agencies.

EPA's regulation is based on best available controls, as defined under the Clean Air Act, and sets specific VOC content limits on seven categories of automobile refinish coatings (generally classified as primers and topcoats). VOC limits would be met by the pollution prevention method of product reformulation, requiring the use of coatings with lower VOC content than the coatings currently in use. Most manufacturers already produce low-VOC coatings.

Fact Sheet Explaining the Rules.

More Information on Automobile Refinishing Coatings Rules.