Nationwide & Sustainability Updates
by Doreen M. Monteleone
RadTech International North America
2015 Reminder: New OSHA Reporting Requirements
Beginning January 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) changed what covered employers are required to report. They now are required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident.
Employers have three options for reporting these severe incidents to OSHA:
- Call the nearest area office (see osha.gov/html/RAmap.html) during normal business hours
- Call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 800-321-OSHA (800-321-6742)
- Report online at osha.gov/report_online
For more information and resources, including a new YouTube video and updated reporting requirements, visit www.osha.gov.
US EPA Proposes Lower Ozone Standard
On November 24, 2014, US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy proposed to further lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. The proposal would lower the current standard of 75 parts per billion for the concentration of ozone pollution in the air to a range of 65-70 parts per billion, while taking public comment on a level as low as 60.
Congressional Republicans are opposing the rule, arguing that it would be “one of the costliest rules ever issued by US EPA and will serve as one of the most devastating regulations in a series of over-reaching regulatory actions taken by this administration.”
Should this proposal move forward, users of chemicals containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will be further pressured to use alternatives with reduced environmental impact. In many situations, this could position UV/EB technology as a compliance option to lower VOC emissions.
For more information, contact Doreen M. Monteleone at email@example.com.
News from the West Coast
by Rita Loof
RadTech International North America
LVP: The Next Big Thing for Chemicals in CA
According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the top three organic gas emission sources in California’s South Coast Air Basin are light-duty passenger cars, off-road equipment and consumer products. The state has adopted Consumer Product Regulations to limit emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) but allowed an exemption for low vapor pressure (LVP) VOCs. LVP-VOCs used in consumer products are not counted toward the total product VOC content for compliance purposes. This exemption was designed to exclude compounds that do not readily participate in ozone formation.
Title 17, California Code of Regulations, section 94508, defines an LVP-VOC as follows:
“LVP-VOC” means a chemical “compound” or “mixture” that contains at least one carbon atom and meets one of the following:
(A) has a vapor pressure less than 0.1 mm Hg at 20°C, as determined by ARB Method 310; or
(B) is a chemical “compound” with more than 12 carbon atoms, or a chemical “mixture” comprised solely of “compounds” with more than 12 carbon atoms, as verified by formulation data, and the vapor pressure and boiling point are unknown; or
(C) is a chemical “compound” with a boiling point greater than 216°C, as determined by ARB Method 310; or
(D) is the weight percent of a chemical “mixture” that boils above 216°C, as determined by ARB Method 310.”
For the purposes of the definition of LVP-VOC, chemical “compound” means a molecule of definite chemical formula and isomeric structure, and chemical “mixture” means a substance comprised of two or more chemical “compounds.”
In June 2012, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) signaled its intent to eliminate the LVP exemption in the Consumer Product Regulations via its Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) document. SCAQMD staff contended that reformulation of products by substituting low vapor pressure volatile organic compounds for other solvents considered to be VOCs may not achieve the ozone reduction benefits anticipated by the Consumer Product Regulations. The AQMP also proposed further control measures for architectural coatings, adhesives, solvents and lubricants and mold release products.
By December 2012, an industry coalition successfully mounted opposition to the staff proposal, which resulted in the LVP issue’s withdrawal. Instead, the AQMD board directed staff to send a letter to CARB requesting further research to better understand impacts of LVP-VOCs emitted from the use of consumer products on ozone and secondary organic aerosol formation. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is conducting a mandatory 2013 Survey for Consumer and Commercial Products. In this survey, ARB staff is gathering data about consumer and commercial products that were sold or supplied for use in California during calendar years 2013-2015. According to the American Coatings Association, the CARB program “will require manufacturers’ and suppliers’ participation in a multi-year data collection, whereby sales and product ingredient data, including information on volatile organic compound (VOC) content, will be required.” CARB also has commissioned a study to determine whether the exemption for LVP-VOCs in the Consumer Product Regulations should continue as is or be modified.
The LVP Coalition maintains that “the elimination of this exemption is a considerable change, in that it would result in wide-ranging changes in product quality, cost and the likely elimination of specific categories of consumer products.”
Clean Up/Green Up
The city of Los Angeles is considering a policy that would set up Green Zones in three pilot areas: Boyle Heights, near downtown; Pacoima, in the East San Fernando Valley; and Wilmington, in the harbor area. The city is taking public comments on the “Clean Up/Green Up” ordinance, which, according to the city, 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.
Unlike existing air quality regulations, Clean Up/Green Up would focus on geographic concentrations of pollution sources creating toxic hotspot neighborhoods. It is a land use and planning proposal aiming to reduce and prevent local pollution. The program has an inspection component for companies that use or handle toxic materials in the course of doing business. It will be funded by inspection fees and fines for companies that don’t comply with “reasonable good-neighbor safeguards.” The inspections would “assure equipment is operating in a way that protects public health and industrial practices keep toxins out of the local environment rather than blowing into the air or running down local gutters and storm drains.”
Industry groups have expressed concern that compliance with the initiative will result in significant added costs to businesses.
Various regions throughout the country have been looking at rules for motor vehicle non-assembly line coating operations. The Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) – a multistate organization created under the Clean Air Act – advises the Environmental Protection Agency on ground-level ozone problems in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. OTC members include Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
The OTC published a “Model Rule for Motor Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Non-assembly Line Coating Operations.” According to the organization, “The California Air Resources Board (CARB) Suggested Control Measure (SCM) for Automotive Coatings,” published October 2005, formed the basis for the revisions in this OTC Model Rule.” To date, Delaware and Maryland have adopted regulations and the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania have proposals under review. Connecticut has no plans to enact regulations citing the potential high cost to its businesses as the reason for its decision.
In California, CARB’s Suggested Control Measure is being implemented by various air districts in the form of local rules that the state will review. CARB staff points to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the South Coast Air Quality Management District as the districts with the most stringent requirements. Agency staff also indicated most of the impacted industry will comply by reformulating to waterborne technology.