AKRON, OHIO — The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) are joining together to push for a national rule to enforce point of sale restrictions on refinish paint products.
The joint action comes in the form of a letter to Environmental Protection Specialist Kim Teal, who is responsible for the design of new EPA regulations that are due to be implemented just a few years from now. Teal’s mission is to reduce harmful emissions from the entire automotive refinish industry and is now formulating the draft rules which will decide how those reductions are to be made. Kim Teal will make a presentation at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) on Tuesday in Las Vegas.
Equipment Requirements Suggested by OSHA-EPA*
Downdraft spray booth (air distribution needs to be across the entire ceiling)
Fresh air respirator/air purifier
CO2 monitor with alarm
HAZMAT cabinet, or safety approved storage cabinet
Wet/dry fire suppression system in mixing room and booth
Enclosed gun cleaners
Eye wash station
Corrosion protection applicator equipment
NIOSH and OSHA approved mask
Shop air exchanger
Compliance with all fire safety codes (state and national)
Paint mixing room (built to a fire H4 rating)
*This list was the result of an EPA/OSHA sponsored workgroup conducted in the Washington D.C. area to study best practices for worker safety in the automotive refinish industry.
In their letter to the EPA, the two associations propose an approach that would control the purchase and use of refinishing products, not unlike that used now for automotive air conditioning refrigerant.
The letter signed by ASA’s Washington Representative Bob Redding and Doug Greenhaus, director, Environment, Health and Safety for NADA, states that, “Clearly, reasonable controls on the purchase and use of automotive refinishing products is key to helping eliminate unnecessary VOC emissions from this industry sector.”
To establish those reasonable controls, the NADA and ASA are suggesting that shops be required to hold a special license in order to purchase paint. In order to obtain that license, shops would need to meet minimum requirements in the areas of equipment and training, as determined by the EPA.
They suggest to the EPA that minimum equipment requirements could be those already established by a joint EPA-OSHA industry workgroup several years ago. As for training, the groups offer the possibility of requiring training and testing by a respected industry group such as I-CAR, to ensure that prospective purchasers of paint are educated in VOC management before being allowed to purchase any paint, and only then, if they are currently employed by a shop meeting the EPA requirements.
Jobbers are typically not in favor of point of sale restrictions. Many feel that they should not have to play the role of policeman — making sure that everyone they sell to holds a valid license to purchase the paint. Bob Monczewski, president and CEO of Till Paint Co., a New Jersey jobber, feels that if the EPA were to move in the direction of paint sale restrictions, any achievable VOC reduction would be negligible.
“They’re barking up the wrong tree,” said Monczewski. He says the amount of over the counter business he sees is dropping all the time. The cost of the product and the difficulty of applying it is discouraging the do-it-yourself painter from buying the paint to begin with, according to Monczewski. “When they come in my door and see what it’s going to cost them to spray the fender on their daughter’s car, they say, I can get the whole thing painted at Maaco for less than that. And they’re probably right.”
Monczewski also pointed out that there are so many other businesses with a legitimate need for automotive paint that are not body shops- such as small industrial equipment manufacturers, or trailer manufacturers. Restricting paint sales to those types of companies is unfair to them, “and many of them are using the paint in a way that emits lower levels of VOCs than some of the best shops out there.”
Clearly the amount of VOC reduction the EPA is hoping to achieve will play an important role in this debate, however, as Monczewski also pointed out, “if a particular company needs this paint, they’ll just find an industrial supplier that will sell it to them with a different label on it, it just won’t be called automotive paint.”
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