Surfing for Info on Waterborne Regulations

July 1, 2010
It’s not always easy to find information on the regulations surrounding waterborne paint conversion. Here are a few tips for your search.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a good national clearinghouse for all information related to waterborne conversion, but you can uncover a lot online. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website has information on the Clean Air Act at epa.gov/lawsregs/laws/caa.html. It also has a page for the collision repair industry, although that doesn’t address waterborne conversion specifically: epa.gov/collisionrepair.

The paint companies that serve the collision repair industry are usually up-to-date on the latest regulatory developments around the country, so Mike Veney, regulatory affairs manager for Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, suggests checking in with your paint company representative to find out the latest local information.

Regional trade shows are also a good place to get more localized information, says Brent Wallace, BASF brand manager for North America. Wallace also recommends the GreenLink website for the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR), which is at ccar-greenlink.org.

Your local EPA office should be able to direct you to the best information source for your area. The EPA has 10 regional offices through the country; find contact info and region-specific websites at epa.gov/aboutepa/postal.html#regional.

When you’re doing web searches for information about waterborne conversion in your area, Veney recommends using search terms like “automotive refinishing,” “mobile equipment refinishing,” and “low-VOC coatings.” Regulations don’t mandate the use of waterborne paint specifically; just that refinishes have a certain VOC count. So the term “waterborne” doesn’t typically turn up anything.

And finally, every region and state has a public participation process associated with these air quality regulations. So if you don’t like what’s going on in your area, you can contact your regional EPA office to figure out how to make your voice heard.

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