PITTSBURGH - PPG Industries Inc. has received a "Green Chemistry Challenge Award" from the U.S. EPA in recognition of the company's development of the Enviro-Prime 2000 lead-free anticorrosion electrodeposition coatings. The award recognized products entered in the "designing safer chemicals" category.

"This award is an important validation of our work to improve the environmental performance of our products, which is a critical requirement of our customers," said Richard Zahren, PPG vice president of Automotive Coatings.

Enviro-Prime 2000 coatings contain no heavy metals and are low in VOC content, PPG says. The coatings also allow automakers to eliminate chrome from rinses and to use no-nickel or low-nickel pretreatments, the company says.

Zahren said automakers' use of the e-coats will eliminate approximately 1 million pounds of lead from primer coatings on an annual basis. The company said that by the end of this year, 11 North American assembly plants with total production capacity of 1.2 million vehicles will be using the lead-free e-coat.

Zahren said the products continue the company's long-term program of introducing more environmentally friendly coatings. He noted that PPG in recent years commercialized a powder clearcoat for automotive application, and previously has introduced waterborne, low-VOC automotive topcoats and low-VOC electrodeposition coatings that contain no hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).

Established in 1995, the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards recognize individuals and organizations for accomplishments in the research, development or implementation of technologies that reduce pollution. An independent panel, selected by the American Chemical Society, judges the nominations in five categories.