by Tammy J. Murphy
In the 6 July 2019 edition of the Canada Gazette, Part I, proposed Regulations addressing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) concentration limits in specified products were published. Although there are currently regulations governing VOC limits in automotive refinishing products and in architectural coatings as well as a Code of Practice in place for reducing VOC emissions from ‘cutback and emulsified asphalt,’ there are only voluntary guidelines in place for VOC limits for certain additional product groups.
Under the proposed Regulations, VOC limits would be set for approximately 130 product categories/sub-categories that are used by consumers as well as in “institutional, industrial or commercial applications.” Both manufacturers and importers would be regulated. The following are some of the product groups that would be covered:
- “personal care products;
- automotive and household maintenance products;
- adhesives, adhesive removers, sealants and caulks;
- miscellaneous products.”
The proposed Regulations also have a permit application process for dealing with products that would release lower VOC emissions as well as for those products that would be either technically or economically prohibitive to reformulate or to bring into compliance. Aside from the permit system, a “VOC Tradeable Unit Credit Program” would also be implemented. Labeling requirements, testing requirements and record-keeping requirements are also defined within the purposed text.
The “Coming into Force” would be “January 1, two years after registration” of the final Regulations for all categories except for disinfectants which would come into force “January 1, three years after registration.” This would allow time for affected parties to align their products with the new limits. The additional year for disinfectants provides ample time for any needed reformulation of products as well as applying for any potential approval from Health Canada.
There is a 75-day, from date of publication, public comment period as well as a 60-day, from date of publication, notice of objection filing period.
The full text of the proposed Regulations should be consulted for complete details.
Additional information on both the proposed Regulations and VOCs can be found on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s website: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-pollution/sources-industry/volatile-organic-compounds-consumer-commercial.html
- Review the proposed Regulations to see if any of your products will be affected.
- Determine how your products will be affected by the proposed Regulations (i.e. – potential reformulation, approval from Health Canada, etc.)
- Submit comments and/or notice of objection by the respective deadlines.
Department of the Environment and Department of Health, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Proposed Regulations – “Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations.” Canada Gazette, Part I, 6 July 2019 edition: http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2019/2019-07-06/pdf/g1-15327.pdf
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Canada, CEPA 1999, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Concentration Limits