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National VOC-Rule Update

The proposed National Rule governing the VOC (solvent) content of auto-refinish coatings has been postponed.

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Mark R. Clark is owner of Professional PBE Systems in Waterloo, Iowa. He’s a popular industry speaker and consultant and is celebrating his 32nd year as a contributing editor to BodyShop Business.

According to Mark Morris, the environmental engineer at the EPA,
the proposed National Rule didn’t adequately address how to handle
coatings composed of components from multiple manufacturers. For
example, if a body shop applied a basecoat color from one paint
manufacturer and proceeded to clear the base with a clearcoat
made by a different manufacturer, would the resultant coating
be compliant?

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The solvent limits proposed by the original
rule are not being re-evaluated. The delay is to formulate a "preamble"
to the National Rule that will protect the smaller component manufacturers
livelihood while still reducing total VOCs from auto refinish.

Without further clarification, who was responsible
for the resultant mixed-brand coating wasn’t clear. At this time,
the discussion is confined to these component manufacturers, and
no change is planned for the solvent limits prescribed by the
original draft of the rule.

Among the issues is the component manufacturers
access to information about the VOC content of the major auto-paint
manufacturers’ products. In areas of the country that already
have solvent limits, the material-safety data sheet and product-information
bulletins have provided sufficient information for the component
manufacturers to create products that result in a compliant coating.
Part of the review process is to determine if this is enough information
to keep everyone on an even footing. If the solvent limits of
various smaller paint manufacturers’ components are not resolved
at the national level, even more restrictive regulations could
be imposed on them by the states.

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The revised National Rule, with the supplementary
changes, could be read into the Federal Register sometime this
year and would become effective four months later.

Writer Mark Clark, owner of Clark Supply Corporation
in Waterloo, Iowa, is a contributing editor to BodyShop Business.

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