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Technology Transfer Network - OAR Policy and Guidance


National Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emission Standards for Aerosol Coatings

  • On June 29, 2007 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed national standards to limit emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from aerosol coatings - spray paints such as clear coatings, nonflat coatings, and primers used by the public.
  • Emissions of volatile organic compounds can react in the atmosphere with oxides of nitrogen to form ground-level ozone. Additionally, many VOCs are on EPA's list of 188 toxic air pollutants.
  • Section 183(e) of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to list for regulation categories of consumer or commercial products that account for at least 80 percent of the VOC emissions from consumer or commercial products in areas that violate the national ambient air quality standards for ozone. The Act directs EPA to do this on a reactivity-adjusted basis rather than simply on a total VOC mass basis.  In the proposed aerosol coatings rule, emphasis is placed on reducing VOC ingredients that are most likely to react to form ground-level ozone. 
  • California Air Resources Board (CARB) currently has a reactivity-based regulation for aerosol coatings in effect.  In this action, EPA is proposing to extend the approach taken by CARB to reduce VOC emissions from spray paints and other similar products to the entire country. 
  • EPA estimates that this rule would reduce VOC emissions by 3,100 tons per year.  Together with the reductions already achieved by the CARB aerosol coatings regulations, this rule would reduce VOC emissions from the aerosol coating source category by approximately 19 percent from 1990 levels.
  • In addition, EPA expects this rule to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants including toluene and xylene.  Both compounds are frequently found in spray paints and similar coatings products. Because these compounds are highly reactive, it would be difficult to continue to use them in large quantities and meet the reactivity limits this rule would establish. 
  • Nearly 85 percent of the spray paints used in the United States are produced by 3 companies, and their aerosol coatings are CARB compliant.  This proposed rule would allow some flexibility for the remaining small facilities.  The proposed action considers granting a two year extension of the compliance date to manufacturers who have never manufactured aerosol coatings for sale or distribution in California.  In addition, this action proposes to exempt from the rule’s emission limits those manufacturers who produce aerosol coatings containing a total of no more than 7,500 kilograms (about 8.25 tons) of VOC per year for all aerosol coatings manufactured.
  • EPA will accept comment on this proposed rule for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.


  • The Clean Air Act directs EPA to divide all consumer or commercial products listed for regulation under section 183(e) into four groups, based on priority.  Of the 21 product categories identified and divided into groups, the aerosol coatings product category is listed in group III.
  • The Act also required best available controls to achieve these emissions reductions.  This could include most effective equipment, measures, processes, methods, systems, or techniques including chemical reformulation, product or feedstock substitution, repackaging, and directs for use, consumption, storage, or disposal.
  • Group III also includes Paper, Film, and Foil Coatings, Metal Furniture Coatings, and Large Appliance Coatings.  In a separate action, EPA is announcing its determination that “control technique guidelines” (CTGs) are substantially as effective as national rules in reducing VOC emissions from these categories in ozone nonattainment areas.  The agency also is requesting comment on the draft CTGs for these categories.


  • Today's proposed rule and other background information are also available either electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, EPA's electronic public docket and comment system, or in  hardcopy at the EPA Docket Center's Public Reading Room.
  • The Public Reading Room is located in the EPA Headquarters Library, Room Number 3334 in the EPA West Building, located at 1301 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. eastern standard time, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays.
    • Visitors are required to show photographic identification, pass through a metal detector, and sign the EPA visitor log. All visitor materials will be processed through an X-ray machine as well. Visitors will be provided a badge that must be visible at all times.
    • Materials for this action can be accessed using Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0971.
  • HOW TO COMMENT: Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0971 and submitted by one of the following methods:
    • Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov),
    • e-mail (a-and-r-docket@epa.gov),
    • Mail (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460), or
    • Hand delivery (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).
  • For further information about the proposed rule, contact Kaye Whitfield of the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards by phone (919) 541-2509 or by e-mail at whitfield.kaye@epa.gov


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