A patchwork quilt of tightening environmental regulations governing the air emissions from protective coatings – also known as industrial maintenance coatings – can be challenging for specification writers, especially when so many changes are anticipated but still in development. But a regulatory compliance expert at Sherwin-Williams says there is a complete product line of already-proven products on the market meeting the requirements of Southern California, the most restrictive jurisdiction.
Madelyn Harding, corporate manager of regulatory affairs at Sherwin-Williams, says two years ago the company needed to prepare to supply its stores in Southern California with product, where South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) rules stipulate volatile organic compound (VOC) limits of 100 g/L for industrial maintenance coatings.

“With the coatings industry’s broadest distribution system, Sherwin-Williams invested early on in the environmentally responsible technologies necessary to comply with SCAQMD’s stringent VOC limits,” said Harding. She said these limits are much lower than anywhere else in North America.
“Specifiers working on projects today that could be affected in the future by anticipated, but still pending, emissions limits should know Sherwin-Williams is a resource,” she said. “We have a complete product line of time-tested formulations – in acrylics, alkyds, epoxies, urethanes and zincs – that are compliant under even the most restrictive regulatory scenario.”

Harding indicated that the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), which has jurisdiction over 12 mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia, is expected to lower its current limits of 340 g/L to 250 g/L in the foreseeable future, and Canada has a proposal for 340 g/L that will become effective by the end of 2009. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing a proposed national rule with a 340 g/L limit, to be effective January 2010.

Sherwin-Williams is the only coatings company with a solvent-based alkyd topcoat – Pro Industrial™ Industrial Enamel 100 – that is compliant at 100 g/L, an extremely difficult level to achieve in an alkyd, Harding noted. It is also free of the air toxics known as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPS), as are the majority of other Sherwin-Williams protective coatings products.