Guidelines for volatile organic compounds in consumer products: section 1

Section 1 Guidelines for Volatile Organic Compounds in Consumer Products

1. Interpretation

The following definitions apply to these Guidelines.

"Aerosol cooking spray" means any aerosol product designed either to reduce sticking on cooking and baking surfaces or to be directly applied on food for the purpose of reducing sticking on cooking and baking surfaces, or both. (antiadhésif culinaire en aérosol)

"Aerosol product" means a product characterized by a pressurized spray system that dispenses product ingredients in aerosol form by means of a propellant or mechanically induced force. (produit en aérosol)

"Agricultural use" means the use of any pest control product or method or device for the control of pests in connection with the commercial production, storage or processing of any animal or plant crop, but does not include the sale or use of pest control products in properly labeled packages or containers intended for:

  1. Household use;
  2. Use in structural pest control; or
  3. Institutional use. (usage agricole)

"Air freshener" means any consumer product, including sprays, wicks, powders and crystals, designed for the purpose of masking odors, or freshening, cleaning, scenting or deodorizing the air, and including spray disinfectants and other products that are expressly represented for use as air fresheners, except institutional and industrial disinfectants when offered for sale through institutional and industrial channels of distribution, but excluding products that are used on the human body, products that function primarily as cleaning products, disinfectant products claiming to deodorize by killing germs on surfaces, or institutional/industrial disinfectants when offered for sale solely through institutional and industrial channels of distribution. (assainisseur d'air)

"All other forms" means all consumer product forms for which no form-specific Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) standard is specified. (toutes autres formes)

"Bait station insecticides" are containers enclosing an insecticidal bait weighing not more than 14 grams, where bait is designed to be ingested by insects and is composed of solid material feeding stimulants with less than 5 percent active ingredients by weight. (insecticides de point d'appât)

"Bathroom and tile cleaner" does not include products specifically designed to clean toilet bowls or toilet tanks. (nettoyant pour salle de bain et céramique)

"Carburetor and choke cleaner" does not include products designed to be introduced directly into fuel lines or fuel storage tanks prior to introduction into the carburetor, or any solvent use described in the 1995 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment report: Environmental Code of Practice for the Reduction of Solvent Emissions from Commercial and Industrial Degreasing Facilities. (nettoyant à carburateur et à étrangleur)

"Construction and panel adhesive" means any one-component household adhesive having gap-filling capabilities that distributes stress uniformly throughout the bonded area, resulting in a reduction or elimination of mechanical fasteners. (adhésif d'assemblage et à panneaux)

"Consumer" means any person who acquires any consumer product for personal, family, household, or institutional use. (consommateur)

"Consumer product" means any product set out in Appendix 1 or Appendix2. (produit de consommation)

"Contact adhesive" means any household adhesive that:

  1. When applied to two substrates, forms an instantaneous, non repositionable bond;
  2. When dried to touch, exhibits a minimum 30-minute bonding range; and
  3. Bonds only to itself without the need for reactivation by solvents or heat. (adhésif de contact)

"Container or packaging" means the part or parts of the consumer product that serve only to contain, enclose, incorporate, deliver, dispense, wrap, or store the chemically formulated substance or mixture of substances that is solely responsible for accomplishing the purposes for which the product was designed or intended, and includes any article onto or into which the principal display panel is incorporated, etched, printed, or attached. (contenant ou emballage)

"Crawling bug insecticide" means any insecticide product that is designed for use against crawling arthropods including, but not limited to, ants, cockroaches, mites (but not house dust mites), silverfish or spiders, but does not include products for agricultural use or products designed to be used exclusively on humans or animals. (insecticide pour insects rampants)

"Double-phase aerosol air freshener" means an aerosol air freshener with liquid contents in two or more distinct phases that require the product container to be shaken before use to mix the phases, producing an emulsion. (assainisseur d'air diphasique en aérosol)

"Dusting aid" means a product designed to assist in removing dust and other soils from floors and other surfaces without leaving a wax or silicone-based coating, but does not include products that consist entirely of compressed gases for use in electronic or other specialty areas. (produit d'époussetage)

"Engine degreaser" means a cleaning product designed to remove grease, grime, oil, and other contaminants from the external surfaces of engines and other mechanical parts, but does not include any solvent used in parts washing equipment or any solvent use described in the 1995 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment report: Environmental Code of Practice for the Reduction of Solvent Emissions from Commercial and Industrial Degreasing Facilities. (dégraissant pour moteur)

"Establishments" include government agencies, factories, schools, hospitals, sanitariums, prisons, restaurants, hotels, stores, automobile service and parts centers, health clubs, theaters or transportation companies. (établissement)

"Fabric protectant" means a product designed to be applied to fabric substrates to protect the surface from soiling due to dirt and other impurities or to reduce absorption of water into fabric fibers, but does not include silicone-based products whose function is to provide water repellency or products designed for use solely on dry clean only fabrics. (protège-tissu)

"Flea and tick insecticide" means any insecticide product that is designed for use against fleas, ticks, and their larvae, or their eggs, but does not include products that are designed to be used exclusively on humans or animals or their bedding. (insecticide anti-puces et tiques)

"Flexible flooring material" means asphalt, cork, linoleum, no-wax, rubber, seamless vinyl and vinyl composite flooring. (revêtement de sol souple)

"Floor polish or wax" means a wax, polish, or any other product designed to polish, protect, or enhance floor surfaces by leaving a protective coating that is designed to be periodically replenished, but does not include spray buff products, products designed solely for the purpose of cleaning floors, floor finish strippers and products designed for unfinished wood floors. (encaustique ou cire)

"Floor seam sealer" means any low viscosity specialty adhesive used in small quantities for the sole purpose of bonding adjoining rolls of installed flexible sheet flooring or to fill any minute gaps between adjoining rolls. (produit de remplissage pour joints de revêtement de sol)

"Flying bug insecticide" means any insecticide product that is designed for use against flying insects, but does not include wasp and hornet insecticide products that are designed to be used exclusively on humans or animals, or their bedding. (insecticide pour insectes volants)

"Fragrance" means a substance or mixture of aroma chemicals, natural essential oils and other functional components that is added to a consumer product to impart an odor or scent, or to counteract a malodor. (parfum)

"Furniture maintenance product" means a wax, polish, conditioner or any other product designed for the purpose of polishing, protecting or enhancing finished wood surfaces other than floors, but does not include dusting aids, products designed solely for the purpose of cleaning, and products designed to leave a permanent finish such as stains, sanding sealers and lacquers. (produit d'entretien de mobilier)

"Gel" means a colloid in which the dispersed phase has combined with the continuous phase to produce a semisolid material. (gel)

"General purpose adhesive" means any non-aerosol household adhesive designed for use on a variety of substrates, but does not include contact adhesives, or construction and panel adhesives. (adhésif à usage général)

"General purpose cleaner" means a product designed for general all-purpose cleaning, in contrast to cleaning products designed to clean specific substrates in certain situations including products designed for general floor cleaning, kitchen or countertop cleaning, and cleaners designed to be used on a variety of hard surfaces. (produit de nettoyage à usage général)

"Glass cleaner" means a cleaning product designed primarily for cleaning surfaces made of glass, but does not include products designed solely for the purpose of cleaning optical materials used in eyeglasses, photographic equipment, scientific equipment and photocopying machines. (nettoyant pour verre)

"Hair mousse" means a hairstyling foam designed to facilitate styling of a coiffure. (mousse capillaire)

"Household adhesive" means any household product that is used to bond one surface to another by attachment, but does not include products used on humans or animals, adhesive tape, contact paper, wallpaper shelf liners or any other product with an adhesive incorporated onto or in an inert substrate. (adhésif à usage domestique)

"Household product" means any consumer product that is primarily designed to be used inside or outside of living quarters or residences, including the immediate surroundings, which are occupied or intended for occupation by individuals. (produit à usage domestique)

"Innovative consumer product" means a consumer product that introduces a new method or idea. (produit de consommation innovant)

"Insecticide" means a pest control product that is designed for use against insects or other arthropods, excluding any product that is:

  1. For agricultural use;
  2. A restricted use pest control product; or
  3. products whose use requires a structural pest control license. (insecticide)

"Insecticide fogger" means any insecticide product designed to release all or most of its content as a fog or mist into indoor areas during a single application. (nébulisateur insecticide)

"Institutional product" means a consumer product that is designed for use in the maintenance or operation of an establishment that manufactures, transports, sells goods or commodities, or provides services for profit; or is engaged in the nonprofit promotion of a particular public, educational or charitable cause, but does not include household products and products that are incorporated into or used exclusively in the manufacture or construction of the goods, or commodities produced by the establishment. (produit à usage institutionnel)

"Institutional use" means use within the confines of or on property for the operation of an establishment's buildings or premises. (usage institutionnel)

"Label" means any written, printed or graphic matter affixed to, applied to, attached to, blown into, formed, molded into, embossed on, or appearing upon any consumer product package for purposes of branding, identifying or giving information with respect to the product or to the contents of the package. (étiquette)

"Laundry pre-wash" means a product that is designed for application to a fabric prior to laundering, and that supplements and contributes to the effectiveness of laundry detergents and/or provides specialized performance. (produit de prélavage)

"Laundry starch product" means a product that is designed for application to a fabric, either during or after laundering, to impart and prolong a crisp look and may also facilitate ironing of the fabric, and includes fabric finish, sizing and starch. (produit à empeser)

"Lawn and garden insecticide" means an insecticide product designed primarily to be used in household lawn and garden areas. (insecticide pour pelouse et jardin)

"Manufacturer" means any person who manufactures or processes a consumer product. Manufacturers include:

  1. Processors who blend and mix consumer products,
  2. Contract fillers who develop formulas and package these formulas under a distributor's label;
  3. Contract fillers who manufacture products using formulas provided by a distributor; and
  4. Distributors who specify formulas to be used by a contract filler or processor. (fabricant)

"Non resilient flooring" means floor of a rigid mineral content, and includes terrazzo, marble, slate, granite, brick, stone, ceramic tile and concrete. (revêtement de sol dur)

"Pest control product" means any product, device, organism, substance or thing that is manufactured, represented, sold or used as a means for directly or indirectly controlling, preventing, destroying, mitigating, attracting or repelling any pest, and includes

  1. any compound or substance that enhances or modifies or is intended to enhance or modify the physical or chemical characteristics of a control product to which it is added, and
  2. any active ingredient used for the manufacture of a control product. (produit antiparasitaire)

"Principal display panel(s)" means that part, or those parts, of a label that are so designed as to most likely be displayed, presented, shown or examined under normal and customary conditions of display or purchase. (panneau d'affichage principal)

"Product category" means that applicable category which best describes the product as listed in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 of these Guidelines, and which appears on the product's principal display panel. (catégorie du produit)

"Product form" means the form that most accurately describes the product's dispensing form including aerosols, gels, liquids, pump sprays and solids. (forme du produit

"Pump spray" means a non-pressurized packaging system in which the product ingredients are expelled only while a pumping action is applied to a button, trigger or other actuator. (atomiseur)

"Restricted use pest control product" means a pest control product that has been classified as restricted by or under the Pest Control Products Act. (produit antiparasitaire à usage restreint)

"Single-phase aerosol air freshener" means an aerosol air freshener with liquid contents in a single homogeneous phase that does not require that the product container be shaken before use. (assainisseur d'air monophasique en aérosol)

"Spray buff product" means a product designed to restore a worn floor finish in conjunction with a floor buffing machine and special pad. (encaustique à vaporiser)

"Structural waterproof adhesive" means an adhesive whose bond lines are resistant to conditions of continuous immersion in fresh or salt water. (adhésif structural hydrofuge)

"Underarm antiperspirant" means any aerosol product that is intended by the manufacturer to be used to reduce perspiration in the human axilla by at least 20 percent in at least 50 percent of a target population. (antisudorifique axillaire)

"Underarm deodorant" means any aerosol product that is intended by the manufacturer to be used to minimize odor in the human axilla by retarding the growth of bacteria that cause the decomposition of perspiration. (désodorisant axillaire)

"Volatile organic compound" or "VOC"Footnotea means any volatile organic compound that participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions, excluding the following :

  • (a) methane;
  • (b) ethane;
  • (c) methylene chloride (dichloromethane);
  • (d) 1,1,1-trichloroethane (methyl chloroform);
  • (e) 1,1,2-trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane (CFC-113);
  • (f) trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11);
  • (g) dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC-12);
  • (h) chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22);
  • (i) trifluoromethane (HFC-23);
  • (j) 1,2-dichloro 1,1,2,2-tetrafluoroethane (CFC-114);
  • (k) chloropentafluoroethane (CFC-115);
  • (l) 1,1,1-trifluoro 2,2-dichloroethane (HCFC-123);
  • (m) 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane (HFC-134a);
  • (n) 1,1-dichloro 1-fluoroethane (HCFC-141b);
  • (o) 1-chloro 1,1-difluoroethane (HCFC-142b);
  • (p) 2-chloro-1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane (HCFC-124);
  • (q) pentafluoroethane (HFC-125);
  • (r) 1,1,2,2-tetrafluoroethane (HFC-134);
  • (s) 1,1,1-trifluoroethane (HFC-143a);
  • (t) 1,1-difluoroethane (HFC-152a);
  • (u) parachlorobenzotrifluoride (PCBTF);
  • (v) cyclic, branched or linear completely methylated siloxanes;
  • (w) acetone;
  • (x) perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene);
  • (y) 3,3-dichloro-1,1,1,2,2-pentafluoropropane (HCFC-225ca);
  • (z) 1,3-dichloro-1,1,2,2,3-pentafluoropropane (HCFC-225cb);
  • (z.1) 1,1,1,2,3,4,4,5,5,5-decafluoropentane (HFC 43-10mee);
  • (z.2) difluoromethane (HFC-32);
  • (z.3) ethylfluoride (HFC-161);
  • (z.4) 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoropropane (HFC-236fa);
  • (z.5) 1,1,2,2,3-pentafluoropropane (HFC-245ca);
  • (z.6) 1,1,2,3,3-pentafluoropropane (HFC-245ea);
  • (z.7) 1,1,1,2,3-pentafluoropropane (HFC-245eb);
  • (z.8) 1,1,1,3,3-pentafluoropropane (HFC-245fa);
  • (z.9) 1,1,1,2,3,3-hexafluoropropane (HFC-236ea);
  • (z.10) 1,1,1,3,3-pentafluorobutane (HFC-365mfc);
  • (z.11) chlorofluoromethane (HCFC-31);
  • (z.12) 1 chloro-1-fluoroethane (HCFC-151a);
  • (z.13) 1,2-dichloro-1,1,2-trifluoroethane (HCFC-123a);
  • (z.14) 1,1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4-nonafluoro-4-methoxy-butane (C4F 9OCH3);
  • (z.15) 2-(difluoromethoxymethyl)-1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropane ((CF3)2CFCF2OCH3);
  • (z.16) 1-ethoxy-1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,4-nonafluorobutane (C4F9OC2H5);
  • (z.17) 2-(ethoxydifluoromethyl)-1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropane ((CF3)2CFCF2OC2H5); and
  • (z.18) methyl acetate and perfluorocarbon compounds that fall into the following classes, namely,
    • (i) cyclic, branched or linear completely fluorinated alkanes,
    • (ii) cyclic, branched, or linear completely fluorinated ethers with no unsaturation,
    • (iii) cyclic, branched or linear completely fluorinated tertiary amines with no unsaturation, and
    • (iv) sulfur containing perfluorocarbons with no unsaturation and with sulfur bonds only to carbon and fluorine. (composés organiques volatils (ou COV))

"Wasp and hornet insecticide" means any insecticide product that is designed for use against wasps, hornets, yellow jackets or bees by allowing the user to spray a high-volume directed stream or burst from a safe distance at the intended pest or its hiding place. (guêpicide)

"Wax" means an organic mixture or compound with low melting point and high molecular weight, which is solid at room temperature, and includes substances such as carnauba wax, lanolin and beeswax derived from plant and animal secretions; substances of a mineral origin such as ozocerite, montan and paraffin; and synthetic substances such as chlorinated naphthalenes and ethylenic polymers. (cire)

"Wood floor wax" means wax-based products for use solely on wood floors. (cire à parquet)

2. Application

  1. These Guidelines apply to any person who manufactures or imports consumer products for use in Canada.
  2. The following consumer products are exempt from these Guidelines:
    1. Any consumer product manufactured in Canada solely for export.
    2. Insecticides and air fresheners containing at least 98-percent paradichlorobenzene or at least 98-percent naphthalene.
    3. Household adhesives sold in containers of 0.03 litre or less.
    4. Bait station insecticides.
    5. Air fresheners whose VOC constituents are 100-percent fragrance materials.
    6. Non-aerosol moth proofing products that are principally for the protection of fabric from damage by moths and other fabric pests in adult, juvenile, or larval forms.
    7. Flooring seam sealers used to join or fill the seam between two adjoining pieces of flexible sheet flooring.
  3. Foggers are not subject to the specific VOC limitations for other categories of insecticides listed in Appendix 1.
  4. An innovative consumer product may exceed the applicable limit in Appendix 1 or Appendix 2if the product demonstrates that, due to characteristics of the product formulation, design, delivery system, or other factors, the use of the product will result in equal or less total VOC emissions. The manufacturer or importer should have access to records demonstrating that this innovative approach meets these requirements.

3. Standards

  1. The VOC content in consumer products for use in Canada should not exceed the content limits set in Appendix 1and Appendix 2.
  2. The VOC content for each product is calculated using records of the amounts of constituents used to manufacture the product.
  3. For consumer products for which the label, packaging, or accompanying literature specifically states that the product should be diluted prior to use, the VOC content limits specified in these Guidelines shall apply to the product only after the minimum recommended dilution has taken place. For the purposes of this paragraph, "minimum recommended dilution" shall not include recommendations for incidental use of a concentrated product to deal with limited special applications such as hard-to-remove soil or stains.
  4. Fragrances incorporated into a consumer product up to a combined level of 2 weight-percent shall not be included in the weight-percent VOC calculation.
  5. The VOC content limits in Appendix 1 shall not include any VOC that:
    1. has a vapor pressure of less than 0.1 millimeters of mercury at 20 degrees Celsius; or
    2. consists of more than 12 carbon atoms, if vapor pressure is unknown; or
    3. has a melting point above 20 degrees Celsius and does not sublimate, if the vapor pressure is unknown.
  6. The vapor pressure information provided by the raw material supplier may be used as long as the supplier uses a method to determine vapor pressure that is generally accepted by the scientific community.
  7. For hydrocarbon solvents that are complex mixtures of many different compounds and that are supplied on a specification basis for use in a consumer product, the vapor pressure of the hydrocarbon blend may be used to demonstrate compliance with the VOC content limits set in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2.

4. Record Keeping and Reporting

Any person who manufactures or imports consumer products for use in Canada should:

  1. Keep records in Canada of the VOC content for all consumer products they manufacture or import; and
  2. Retain these records for at least 3 years, in a form suitable and readily available for review.


  1. Manufacturers and importers may provide, within 6 months of the issuance of these Guidelines, a completed VOC Content Form to the Minister in the form set out in Appendix 3 of these Guidelines.
  2. If the range of VOC content in a product category changes as a result of reformulation, manufacturers and importers may provide, within 6 months of reformulating a product, a revised VOC Content Form to the Minister in the form set out in Appendix 3 of these Guidelines.
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