The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved of the use of ASTM D-7767-11 (Standard Test Method to Measure Volatiles from Radiation Curable Acrylate Monomers, Oligomers, and Blends and Thin Coatings Made from Them), the test method developed by RadTech members for UV/EB thin films. The action was part of the approval of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) graphic arts rule (Rule 1130) and marks the first time the EPA has approved a rule that includes a test method specifically for UV/EB thin films. RadTech members developed the test method as both federal and local regulators recognized the inadequacy of standard EPA method 24 for UV/EB materials, but could not produce a suitable alternative. Industry was asked to develop a method for thin films (ASTM D-5403-93 can be used for non-thin films and was incorporated by reference in method 24).At the regulators’ behest, RadTech embarked in an effort which involved 25 member companies, to get ASTM approval which ultimately yielded ASTM D-7767 in 2011.
The EPA approved of the rule as part of the state implementation plan approval process. Their decision validates the ASTM method and offers additional certainty to raw material suppliers, formulators, and end users who may wish to employ the method to determine VOC content in UV/EB thin film operations. "We are grateful to the EPA, the SCAQMD board, and especially to our committed RadTech members who dedicated their time and resources," says Rita Loof, RadTech Director of Regulatory Affairs.