EPA Asks Collision Repairers for Auto Body Refinishing Product InputPosted 12/13/2005
By Robert L. Redding, Jr.
The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments set limits on emissions harmful to air quality but allowed states to lead in establishing strong pollution controls.
In the fall of 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established national volatile organic compound (VOC) standards for automotive refinish coatings.
In April 2004, federal regulations were issued for major sources performing auto body refinishing.
The EPA reports that the Clean Air Act required the agency to "identify a list of at least 30 air toxics that pose the greatest potential health threat in urban areas." The pollutants involved in automotive refinishing of interest to the EPA are hex chrome, lead, cadmium, manganese, toluene, xylene, methyl ethyl ketone and methyl isobutyl ketone.
During 2004, EPA officials began meeting with collision industry representatives to discuss a possible regulation dealing with automotive refinishing products. In addition to meeting with trade association officials, the EPA's team attended NACE 2004 and visited collision repair shops around the country. At NACE 2004, EPA representatives participated in roundtable discussions with collision repairers and attended show presentations and international repairer meetings gathering information.
The EPA automotive refinishing team returned to NACE 2005, continuing to communicate with the collision industry and researching the issue of interest. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) hosted the EPA team in a local Las Vegas collision repair facility to view equipment and discuss paint issues with independent repairers from around the country, new car dealers and paint professionals. EPA representatives also made a presentation at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) regarding their automotive refinishing efforts. The EPA presented a draft timeline for the regulatory process. Targets include:
ASA has promoted controlling paint products at the "point of sale" for a number of years. To purchase automotive refinishing products, repairers or painters would have to demonstrate that they have received proper training and have the appropriate equipment to paint a vehicle.
ASA and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) sent a letter Oct. 26, 2005, to the EPA emphasizing their support for controlling the use of paint products. (To read the letter, visit ASA's legislative Web site at www.TakingTheHill.com). ASA and the NADA commented, "Shops in our industry would be required to certify to the EPA that they met minimum equipment and facility standards, such as the model equipment guidelines established by a joint EPA-OSHA industry work group several years ago (see adjacent side bar). Shop certification might also require a federal tax identification number, a business license, and/or a valid state sales tax number. Moreover, prospective purchasers and users of automotive refinishing products would be required to be employed by a certified shop and would need to be trained and tested on VOC management."
ASA and NADA continued, "Clearly, reasonable controls on the purchase and use of automotive refinishing products is key to helping eliminate unnecessary VOC emissions from this industry sector."
This is an opportunity for collision repairers to participate early in the federal regulatory process. Repairers are encouraged to forward their comments supporting the control of automotive refinishing products to the EPA.
Repairers are also urged to go to www.TakingTheHill.com to receive updates on the automotive refinishing product regulatory process.