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Regulartory News

Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D., director of sustainability & EHS initiatives

RadTech International North America

Nationwide & Sustainability Updates

Do You Have Something to Say About UV/EB Sustainability? RadTech recently announced the formation of the RadTech Resource Bureau (RRB) as a way of sharing information among members about the sustainability benefits of UV/EB. All RadTech members should have received an email with details on how to join the RRB. If not, contact Doreen Monteleone at Doreen@RadTech.org.

Funding Opportunity for Coatings Research

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) will be awarding approximately 18 firm-fixed price contracts of $100,000 each under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Phase I during Fiscal Year 2016.

The SBIR Program is a phased process, uniform throughout the federal government, of soliciting proposals and awarding contracts for research or research and development (R&D) to meet stated agency technology needs or missions. During Phase I, contractors shall conduct feasibility-related experimental research or R&D efforts on the following topics:

  • Topic 1: Air and Climate: Lab-on-a-chip sensors for organic pollutants in homes
  • Topic 2: Integrated cookstove-heating-electricity generation for small homes
  • Topic 3: Manufacturing: Nontoxic and biodegradable plastics
  • Topic 4: Toxic Chemicals: Less toxic coatings
  • Topic 5: Water: Resource and/or energy recovery
  • Topic 6: Building Materials: Innovative construction materials
  • Topic 7: Homeland Security: Decontamination of railroad and subway cars

The Phase I awards are expected to be made by July 16, 2016. The period of performance for each Phase I contract will be six months.

Upon successful completion of an EPA SBIR Phase I contract, the Phase I contractors will receive the Phase II solicitation and may submit proposals for competitive evaluation. Funding for Phase II shall be based upon the results of Phase I, the quality and soundness of the Phase II work plan and the commercial potential of Phase II technology.

Proposals submitted in response to the solicitation must directly pertain to the agency’s environmental mission and must be responsive to the US EPA program interest included in the topic descriptions identified in the solicitation. This procurement is a total small business set-aside. The NAICS code is 541712 and the Small Business Size Standard is 500 employees. Learn more at www.epa.gov/sbir/sbir-funding-opportunities.

Paints and Coatings Industry Reduced Emissions in Canada

Environment Canada’s recently completed evaluation of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations reveals that the Canadian paint and coatings industry has significantly reduced low-level emissions over the past four years. The study was done to evaluate the performance four years after the regulations came into force. Information on regulations can be found at www.ec.gc.ca.

SGP Releases Draft 2016 Criteria Document for Comment

The Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership has released the 2016 SGP Criteria for public comment. The updated criteria will be easier to follow, while maintaining SGP’s high standards for certification. Any facility applying to the program after the criteria are finalized will have to meet the new requirements. Existing certified facilities will meet new requirements upon recertification. Learn more at www.sgppartnership.org.

Safer Chemistry Online Training Course

The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council Education Group has launched Safer Chemistry Training for Business. This free, online curriculum comprises educational webinars, ranging from introductory to advanced, and supplemental reading materials. While the material has been developed with a business audience in mind, technical assistance providers and students also can benefit from this foundation in green chemistry. Learn more at www.greenchemistryandcommerce.org/safer-chemistry-training/introduction.

NIOSH Releases Podcast on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Learn more about how to protect workers from noise-induced hearing loss in a new podcast featuring information from the National Institute of Occupational Safety (NIOSH) Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention team. Learn more at www..cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=8639043.

News from the West Coast

By Rita Loof, director of regional environmental affairs

RadTech International North America

SUBMITTED

Workers applying UV coating

Environmental Violations Could Mean Jail Time Criminal charges have been filed against five metal-plating companies in Boyle Heights, California, for environmental violations. The charges, brought by the Los Angeles City Attorney in collaboration with a coalition of 17 regulatory agencies, allege the businesses illegally disposed of and stored hazardous waste and toxic chemicals, thereby posing a public safety threat. The owners of four of the five businesses could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

The move comes on the heels of “Clean Up Green Up,” a city policy that sets up “Green Zones” in three pilot areas in the City of Los Angeles: Boyle Heights, near downtown; Pacoima, in the East San Fernando Valley; and Wilmington, in the harbor area. According to the city, the policy would help sort through environmental rules, streamline permitting and provide technical assistance and support on business opportunities and financing. The program aspires to help eligible businesses acquire green technology, modernize and operate more efficiently.

There was little mention, if any, of the heavy enforcement arm of the City Attorney’s office. The program has an inspection component for companies that use or handle toxic materials in the course of doing business. Funding comes from inspection fees and fines for companies that don’t comply with “reasonable good-neighbor safeguards.” The city claims inspections would “assure equipment is operating in a way that protects public health and industrial practices to keep toxins out of the local environment, rather than blowing into the air or running down local gutters and storm drains.”

As reported by the Los Angeles Business Journal, the owner of one of the businesses charged is a 72-year-old native of the Philippines, accused of illegally disposing of a container of potassium cyanide. The businessman claims the box was empty. He could face up to one year in jail and a $100,000 fine if convicted. His company previously had been fined $80,000. Industry groups have expressed concern over bringing criminal charges and heavy fines against business owners who are bringing jobs to the community.

Court of Appeals Upholds NESHAP

Two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated standards restricting emissions of hexavalent chromium from chromium electroplating and anodizing facilities. The agency issued a rule in 2012 updating the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions (NESHAP) for “Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks; and Steel Pickling — HCl Process Facilities and Hydrochloric Acid Regeneration Plants” [77 Fed.Reg. 58,220 (Sept. 19, 2012)]. The 2012 regulation was challenged in court by environmental petitioners – the Clean Air Council, California Communities Against Toxics and the Sierra Club – who argued that the rule is too lax because “EPA ignored relevant information and impermissibly considered costs in calculating revised emissions standards.” The National Association for Surface Finishing (representing facilities that coat products ranging from plumbing fixtures to airplane wings) argued that the rule is too stringent and that EPA failed to make a determination of developments in practices, processes or control technologies.

The environmental petitioners challenged the Final Rule as too lax on the grounds that EPA unreasonably (1) declined to recalculate a technology-based emissions stringency floor that is independent of cost considerations, and (2) ignored emissions data from California in calculating revised standards. The court concluded that EPA did not “ignore California’s technological advances in assessing the cost effectiveness of applying nationally the standards in effect in California.” The court’s opinion went on to state that the agency acknowledged that California emissions standards require controls that are more stringent than those required elsewhere, and that they had been feasibly implemented in California. In addition, the agency weighed the costs and benefits of requiring those controls nationally and concluded that the relatively minimal reductions in emissions and risk that could be expected from extending California-like controls across the country would not warrant the associated expense.

Regarding industry’s claims, the court reasoned that EPA’s decision-making was sufficiently clear and rational. The opinion stated: “We conclude that EPA’s methodology passes muster.”

Teachers Prefer UV-Cured Coatings

A recent study commissioned by the University of Nevada, in collaboration with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and Region IX of the Environmental Protection Agency, titled “Safer Alternatives to Current Floor Wax Strippers for Schools and Public Buildings,” highlights the many benefits of UV technology. The study looked into alternatives to wax strippers and coatings that may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and toxic chemicals commonly used in public buildings, such as schools. Vinyl composition tile (VCT) used as flooring requires periodic waxing, which also involves an environmentally problematic stripping process. The project also analyzed applying UV-cured coatings over VCTs that do not require waxing or stripping and found that school staff preferred the UV-cured coatings. “The vinyl seal and UV-cured coating maintained their integrity, and the school staff indicated they preferred the UV cured coating, which had a very polished look,” stated the report.

The study looked into a UV urethane acrylic coating as a pollution-prevention strategy that eliminated the need for wax and wax stripping products altogether. A busy hallway at a school in the Riverside Unified School District was the test site. According to the report, the coating was maintained with simple dry and wet mopping, with no waxing or stripping. It was monitored for a school year to determine its performance. Other coatings tested (non-UV) reportedly “started wearing in certain recessed areas by the end of the school year.” The UV-cured coating stood the test of time, causing school staff to indicate their preference for it. The study reported the cost of new VCT flooring is $3.69 per square foot and that of replacement VCT flooring is $3.65 per square foot. The cost per square foot for the UV-cured coating over VCT was $2.14 for a coating with a three-year life and $1.72 for a coating with a five-year life. The cost (per square foot) for UV-cured coating reapplication was $1.82 (three-year life) and $1.53 (five-year life). Basically, it is less costly on an annual basis to use UV-cured coatings over VCT than it is to use the traditional waxing/stripping process or to install new VCT flooring or replace it.

The report also stated the UV-cured coating (with a VOC content of 10 grams/liter) met the stringent VOC limits of 50 grams per liter set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1113 “Architectural Coatings” for floor coatings used in schools and public buildings. The UV-cured coating was described as an “extremely durable and shiny coating.” The report indicated, “The UV-cured coating looked extremely shiny at the end of the inspection period, and the teachers indicated they liked that coating the best.” Additionally, the data showed the cost of using the UV-cured coating is 37 percent lower than the cost of installing new VCT when the coating has a life of three years and 49 percent lower than the cost of installing new VCT when the coating has a life of five years.