How will the new VOC Regulations affect distributors?
A number of questions have arisen over the past few months regarding the new Canadian VOC regulation that has been established. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding how this is going to affect you.
What happens on September 9th, 2010?
On this date, the first phase of the newly established mandatory regulation designed to reduce the VOC emissions of Architectural and Industrial Maintenance (AIM) Coatings is initiated. The first phase of implementation requires that a manufacturer is no longer able to manufacture products that have a VOC level exceeding the maximum allowable level stated in the product's respective category. There is a two-year period where these products are allowed to be sold and used, on the basis of being manufactured and imported by this original September 9, 2010 date. Once the date has been met, any material that exceeds the allowable level and is manufactured, imported, sold or used will be in defiance of the regulation. One exception to this regulation is form release agents that have an extended period to September 9, 2012.
AIM coatings are comprised of coatings which are purchased and applied by both consumers and contractors. Products include paints, stains, varnishes and many other types of coating and sealing products which are intended for in-situ application to buildings, furniture, pavement, concrete metal and wide variety of surfaces present in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial settings.
The purpose of this regulation is to protect the environment and health of Canadians by setting VOC concentration limits for 53 categories of architectural coatings. There are a number of categories that are not applicable for our use; a summary of the applicable categories are as follows: This affects manufacturing, importing and use of materials within Canada. Following is a brief summary of the regulation and the important dates to keep in mind.
For the distributor, you will still be able to sell these products for another two years, on the assumption that there will be product available.
We have put together a chart listing coating categories affecting W. R. MEADOWS products. Click here to view the chart.
What products are going to be affected?
As mentioned above, all products that exceed the maximum VOC level in their respective category will be affected. What this means is that the material will not conform to the regulation as currently manufactured and will be subject to either:
In future months, we will provide a specific listing of the current materials that are affected by these changes. In general, curing and sealing compounds, primers, form release agents (not immediately), and water repellents will be affected.
Does this mean all products will now be water-based?
NO. This seems to be the biggest and most asked question and has resulted in a large amount of misunderstanding. There is nothing within the regulation that states the materials have to be water-based. Although these sorts of materials will conform to the requirements, in our climate, these products are not always feasible.
During initial development of various regulations within North America, water-based materials were in the forefront and made sense since some climatic areas allowed their use year round. However, in colder climates, these materials cannot always be used. So, with the development of other regulations (including this one), other parameters were developed, including the use of VOC-exempt solvents. These can be described as compounds that do not have a major contribution to the ground level ozone formulation and have therefore been declared as exempt from the regulatory definition of VOC.
What should I look for when selecting products?
When it comes to developing products that are solvent-based using VOC exempt solvents, one cannot simply replace the existing solvent with the new one; there are a number of performance factors that need to be looked at. A distributor needs to take a close look at the performance characteristics, as well as discussing these changes with the manufacturer.
When reviewing materials or manufacturers, it is important to consider companies, such as W. R. MEADOWS, who have been involved in these various regulations for a number of years and have already reformulated and developed a number of products, both water- and solvent-based. Having a history of product performance and compatibility certainly provides that level of comfort for both the user and the owner.
What is W. R. MEADOWS doing?
As has been the way for over 20 years, W. R. MEADOWS have manufactured our GREEN LINE products which already conform to these regulations. In addition, we have made some changes to current formulations of products and developed a number of new products that will also conform to this regulation using these VOC-exempt solvents. In addition, our Canadian plants have been producing products for over three years that conform to the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) regulations already in place in the Northeastern US, as well as products conforming to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) rules, two of the defining regulations currently in place in the US.
What effect will these changes have on the cost of materials?
Many of the materials we are manufacturing that currently conform to the regulation will be subject to the regular price changes that we issue due to changes in raw material costs. Products that are reformulated with VOC-exempt solvents will be subject to a price increase due to the increased cost of these solvents. As always, we will monitor these costs very closely and we will continue to work very diligently at increasing our manufacturing efficiencies in order to minimize these cost increases.
What should I do now?
The biggest thing that a distributor should undertake currently is education when it comes to this regulation. As I am sure is happening, there are a number of questions that arise within your organization, as well as from outside from your customers. We at W. R. MEADOWS strive for quality, education and service and will be more than happy to provide you with any additional information you require on these significant changes within Canada. If you have any questions, please contact your local technical representative at 800-342-5976.
W. R. MEADOWS of CANADA