WASHINGTON - In a move that will aid industry, on Dec. 13, 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the final rule deleting methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) under the Clean Air Act (CAA). MEK is a primary solvent used in the manufacture of surface coatings, inks and adhesives. The National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) had been an active proponent of MEK's removal from the HAP list, arguing that its continued status as a HAP discouraged its use even though it contributes less to the formation of ozone (the principal component of smog) than other solvents used in the coatings industry. In addition, MEK allows for the formulation of higher solid-content coatings, which lower solvent emissions from coating-application manufacturing operations. Thus, NPCA argued that there is appropriate data to warrant MEK's deletion from the list of HAPs under the CAA, and the result of such would be environmentally beneficial.