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VOC Regulations


Effective September 2010

VOC Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Are Now Regulated

Enforced through Environment Canada and the Environmental Protection Act, new VOC Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings are in effect beginning September 2010.  This legislation regulates the manufacture, distribution and sale of Architectural Coatings and puts VOC concentration limits on 53 categories of Architectural paints and coatings.

Important Links:

VOC Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings

Important Excerpts from Canada Gazette Vol.143, No.20

1. Low VOC Coating Performance:

A concern was voiced that reformulations may lead to coatings with less durability and/or poor performance, requiring more applications of the reformulated coatings in order to obtain results comparable to those using non-compliant coatings.

Environment Canada's background economic study indicated that in 2002, for all of the proposed categories and limits, there were already compliant coatings in the market that had acceptable performance attributes.  In fact, compliant coatings already represented a significant portion of the supply in many categories at that time.  In some categories, low-VOC coatings may in fact have performed better than higher-VOC alternatives.  Environment Canada does not expect reduced performance from compliant architectural coatings.

2. Studies have shown:

Several technical studies have been performed or contracted by CARB (see footnote 31), (see footnote 32), (see footnote 33)and SCAQMD ( see footnote 34) for testing performance characteristics of major architectural coatings categories.  All specifications defined by the industry in relation to the expected performance of each coating category were tested.  Performance testing was carried out in laboratory-simulated accelerated weathering, as well as in ambient weathering conditions and covered diverse harsh climates.  Studies found that the performance of VOC-compliant coatings did not vary significantly from the performance of non-compliant coatings.

Solvent and resin suppliers, and coating manufacturers, also regularly provide information indicating that the latest developments in VOC-compliant coatings often provide superior performance at decreased costs to end users because of their increased durability.

3. What do these changes mean to the coating industry?
  • Solvent reduction
  • New technologies, never available before
  • Subtle differences in products that had higher VOC concentrations, higher solids content which contribute to better overall hide.