VOC Levels and How to Reduce Them in Your Paint Application Process
VOC Levels and How to Reduce Them in Your Paint Application ProcessThe level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in paints is the biggest environmental issue facing the coatings industry today. Scientific research shows that the harmful effects of VOCs are significant, and the manufacture and use of paints with high VOC content is being increasingly regulated. In this article you will learn:
- What volatile organic chemicals are
- Their impact on human health and the environment
- Legislative requirements relating to VOCs
- How Ultrimax can help you to reduce your VOC emissions
What are VOCs?VOCs are chemicals found in paints to preserve them, to enhance their flow, and to create specialist properties such as resistance to corrosion. When applying paints, VOCs are released into the air as gases through the process of evaporation. Solvent-based paints, thinners and brush cleaners can contain up to 50% VOCs, while high-solid paints and water-based products contain just 8-15%.
How do VOCs affect human health and the environment?In the presence of sunlight, VOCs can react with nitrogen oxides to produce ground level ozone and photochemical smog that contribute to atmospheric pollution. Studies show that smog is linked to increasing incidence of heart disease and certain cancers. High VOC exposure, through activities such as spray painting, can also have serious short- and long-term effects on human health. Ground level ozone is harmful to the environment too. It can result in low crop yields and cause plants to have an increased susceptibility to environmental stresses such as pests and disease.
What does the law say about VOCs?
To protect healthIn the UK, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations require that employers protect their workforce against the risks from VOCs found in solvents. The Health and Safety Executive can provide you with further information about the Regulations and how to comply.
To protect the environmentThe British Coatings Federation (BCF) and UK Government have been working alongside their European counterparts to develop legislation that reduces VOC emissions. The UK coatings industry must comply with the following legislation:
- Paint Product Directive (Directive 2004/42/CE) - enacted in the UK by the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2012 and enforced by local authorities.
- Part I of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990: Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC) - companies using more than five tonnes of organic solvent for coating in any 12-month period are required to:
- Register with their local authority and obtain an authorisation to operate the coating process
- Comply with the conditions contained in the relevant Secretary of State's Process Guidance (PG) Notes.
- Industrial Emissions Directive (IED - Directive 2010/75/EU) - applicable to specific industrial activities and enacted in the UK by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
How can Ultrimax help to minimise VOC levels in your paint application process?Ultrimax is committed to helping organisations become compliant, sustainable and efficient. We can support you to reduce your VOC consumption without compromising on quality. Here are three key ways in which we help our customers to manage their VOC emissions and comply with legislation:
Low VOC coatings
Aquimax water-based paintsOur Aquimax Primer, Primer Finish and Gloss Paint use water in place of solvents. This not only greatly reduces their VOC emissions but results in much quicker drying times too.
Paint transfer efficiencies
Electrostatic sprayingThis highly efficient and cost-effective technology can reduce product wastage and overspray by up to 20%. Less paint means fewer VOC emissions too. The system produces a superior finish compared to standard spraying methods and it's suitable for both powder coating and liquid paint application.
Solvent recycling machineThese machines distil used solvent to produce clean, reusable solvent. They reduce your solvent purchase and disposal costs significantly, bringing you a high return on investment. In many cases, solvent recycling machines can reduce your VOC consumption levels below licensing levels.
VOC monthly reports
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