LOS ANGELES — An Orange County (CA) court recently rejected an industry challenge to new VOC restrictions on architectural and industrial-maintenance coatings imposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Judge William F. McDonald of the Orange County Superior Court upheld lower VOC limits on several types of coatings enacted in 1999 by the SCAQMD, and said an industry lawsuit challenging the limits failed to show that the limits would require the use of inferior or inadequate coatings products.

The new VOC limits are scheduled to go into effect in 2002 and 2006, and will require VOC content as low as 50 grams per liter (g/L) for some products by 2006. Types of product affected include flats, nonflats, floor coatings, quick-dry enamels, industrial-maintenance coatings, primers and sealers, and rust-preventative coatings. The limits are part of the SCAQMD’s Rule 1113, which is posted on the district’s website at www.arb.ca.gov.

In his ruling, Judge McDonald said evidence heard in the case “establishes that there are a number of zero- and low-VOC coatings currently available and in use now which are effective for their uses and perform as well, or better than, some of the high-VOC coatings.” McDonald also rejected several other arguments made by coatings manufacturers.

The lawsuit challenging the SCAQMD limits was filed by the National Paint & Coatings Association, The Sherwin-Williams Co., Dunn-Edwards Corp. and a group of California coatings companies known as the California Paint Alliance. There was no immediate announcement on possible appeals of the court ruling.