News Brief

Southern California Slashes VOC Limits for Paints and Coatings

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which sets policy in four Southern California counties, is updating its standards regarding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paints and other coatings. The proposed changes would cut maximum VOC limits in half for primers, special primers, sealers, and undercoaters from 100 grams per liter (g/L) to 50 g/L, and would also slash VOC maximums for a number of specialized coating types.

Another proposed change would limit VOCs to 50 g/L in colorants that are added to base paint at the point of sale. Even when base paints have low levels of VOCs, many tints, which are currently unregulated, can elevate VOC levels in the final product. While the proposed changes apply only within SCAQMD, the new standards will have an impact throughout California and even the entire U.S., because large paint manufacturers will need to change their formulas in order to sell products in densely populated Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernar-dino, and Riverside counties, and because the influential LEED rating system references the standards. The measure will come to a vote April 1, 2011, and many of the changes, if approved, would take effect in January 2012.

Published February 28, 2011

Paula, M. (2011, February 28). Southern California Slashes VOC Limits for Paints and Coatings. Retrieved from

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