American Coatings Association

SCAQMD Rulemaking for Industrial Adhesives and Sealants Progresses


ACA has been actively engaged in California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) regulatory process for amending Rule 1168 governing Industrial Adhesives and Sealants, which kicked off in May. The rulemaking was halted in 2014 after the SCAQMD Board of Directors directed the district to address concerns with tertiary-butyl acetate (TBAC).

After lengthy and meaningful discussions at each of the working group meetings and the public workshop, district staff released an updated version of its Proposed Amended Rule 1168 and another Draft Staff Report on Sept. 6. In general, SCAQMD was receptive to most of industry’s comments and updated the rule accordingly. However, there are still some issues that ACA plans to comment on before the final public hearing on Oct. 6.

Industrial applications of adhesives and sealants are subject to air quality regulations in the states and local air districts in California. There is no national rule for industrial adhesives and sealants. In California, the local air districts have jurisdiction over industrial processes while the Air Resources Board (ARB) has jurisdiction over consumer products. Consequently, ARB developed air quality standards for consumer adhesives and sealants and left the regulation of industrial adhesives to the local air districts. In the late 1990s, in an effort to provide some guidance to the air districts for this source category, ARB developed and approved the RACT/BARCT Determination for Industrial Adhesives and Sealants. Most of the local air districts in California currently have a regulation focused on this source category. Rule 1168 remains the most stringent regulation for industrial adhesive applications, and it has been embraced by the Green Building community as the “standard” for adhesives and sealants in the construction of new buildings.

Since May, the district has hosted a series of working group meetings with stakeholders to discuss the proposed regulatory changes it intends to implement during the rulemaking process and how these changes would impact industry. ACA staff attended each of the working group meetings and the public workshop, and submitted extensive comments to SCAQMD regarding the proposed changes to Rule 1168.

ACA provided detailed comments on some of the air district’s proposed regulated product categories and volatile organic compound (VOC) limits. Additionally, ACA addressed SCAQMD’s inclusion of consumer products used in industrial settings to Rule 1168. SCAQMD states in the Draft Staff Report that it has the authority to regulate any consumer products that are used exclusively for the manufacturing process, even if the products are exempt from CARB’s regulation. ACA maintains that if SCAQMD’s proposed amended Rule 1168 goes into effect, there would be several products that are currently exempt under CARB that would then be subject to regulation by SCAQMD under the catch-all “other” categories. Many manufacturers of these products might not be aware of this change in the regulatory landscape and could potentially be subject to enforcement. ACA believes that the most appropriate delegation of responsibilities is to allow CARB to regulate all consumer products and all their uses (as CARB’s rule contemplates), and for SCAQMD to regulate the industrial arena. ACA argues that any other framework makes it impossible for manufacturers to understand their compliance responsibilities, and impossible for enforcement authorities to understand which regulations apply and when. ACA urged SCAQMD to reconsider its position on regulating caulks, sealants, and adhesives to consumer uses that have historically been exempt under CARB.

ACA is also urging that SCAQMD implement fair and reasonable reporting requirements that will lessen the burden on industry. District staff have repeatedly stressed the importance of collecting accurate adhesive and sealant inventory data for planning purposes. ACA fully understands the need for SCAQMD to gather this information, but compiling the information at the level of detail that the district is requiring will be extremely costly in terms of time, money, and resources for industry. ACA is asking that SCAQMD allow manufacturers to use alternate options, such as “California Population Factors,” or other tools that will help reduce the burden associated with reporting.

ACA will continue to advocate on behalf of industry as this rulemaking is finalized. SCAQMD intends to present the final Proposed Amended Rule 1168 at the Stationary Source Committee Meeting on Sept. 15. After that, the district will hold a final public hearing scheduled for Oct. 6.

The district intends to publish the final rule in mid-October.

Contact ACA’s Raleigh Davis or Rhett Cash for more information.