On Sept. 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register its proposal to amend the National Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emission Standards for Aerosol Coatings, which establishes reactivity-based emission standards for the aerosol coatings category (aerosol spray paints) under the Clean Air Act. The agency is proposing to update coating category product-weighted reactivity limits for aerosol coatings categories; add new compounds and reactivity factors (RFs); update existing reactivity values; revise the default RF; amend the thresholds for compounds regulated by this document; and add electronic reporting provisions.

ACA has consistently urged EPA to amend the National VOC rule for aerosol coatings to update its table of Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR) values to align with California’s aerosol coatings rule, adjust the default value, and add several compounds to the rule’s Table 2A. ACA submitted two petitions for rulemaking to EPA in 2017. Since then, ACA has continued to raise and discuss this issue with various offices at EPA. ACA will be submitting comments to EPA on its proposal by the agency’s Nov. 16, 2021 comment deadline.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to control VOC emissions from specific categories of consumer and commercial products for purposes of reducing emissions contributing to ozone formation and ozone nonattainment. The National Volatile Organic Compound Emission Standards for Aerosol Coatings was promulgated on March 24, 2008 and establishes VOC reactivity-based emission limits. Several amendments have been made since rule promulgation pursuant to 40 CFR part 59, subpart E, allowing regulated entities to petition the Administrator to add compounds to the rule.

ACA’s Petitions to EPA

In 2017, ACA developed and submitted two petitions for rulemaking regarding EPA’s aerosol coatings rule. The first petition requested that EPA update its table of MIR values, adjust the default value, modify the regulatory language to allow for changing the value of existing compounds, and add several aerosol coatings compounds to EPA’s tables. ACA officially submitted this first petition to EPA in April 2017; however, the agency indicated that the complexity of the requests would be a significant obstacle to completion of a rulemaking. EPA encouraged ACA to submit a streamlined version of the petition and indicated that the agency would consider an expedited rulemaking process.

Consequently, ACA submitted a second petition (pursuant to 40 CFR § 59.511(j)) that asked EPA to add 16 aerosol coatings compounds to its table of MIR values. ACA petitioned EPA to amend the national VOC rule for aerosol coatings because various aerosol coatings manufacturers subject to EPA’s regulations concluded that several compounds are being used by formulators that are not listed on Tables 2A, 2B, or 2C. It is the intent of industry members and the regulated community to use these compounds in aerosol coatings products.

In its petitions ACA underscored that reactivity factors of each of the compounds have undergone significant scientific study under the direction of Dr. William P.L. Carter and have been peer reviewed by the scientific community. Notably, Dr. Carter’s reports reflect the most up-to-date scientific research available and are widely accepted. His research is also the basis for California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Aerosol Coatings Regulation, which has also assigned MIR values to these compounds.

Since the reactivity factors of the following compounds have been studied, peer reviewed, and accepted, and these compounds are intended to be used by the regulated community moving forward, ACA has urged EPA to add them to Table 2A.

Contact ACA’s Rhett Cash for more information.