Architectural coatings products and volatile organic compounds

Architectural coatings are applied to traffic surfaces or stationary structures in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial settings. Examples include paints, stains, varnishes and lacquers.

The Canadian industry produces these coatings for three main segments:

  • general architectural coatings: coatings sold to painting contractors and to the general public through retail outlets
  • industrial maintenance coatings: high-performance architectural coatings for industrial or professional application to surfaces exposed to extreme conditions
  • traffic marking coatings: used for marking traffic surfaces such as streets, highways, parking lots and airport runways

Information on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from architectural coatings in aerosol containers is found on the Aerosol coatings page.

The regulations

The Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on September 30, 2009. The regulations apply to manufacturers, importers and sellers of architectural coatings, and to users of traffic marking coatings.

The objective of the regulations is to protect the environment and health of Canadians from the effects of air pollution by reducing VOC emissions. The regulations are based on similar requirements in other jurisdictions, such as the member states of the Ozone Transport Commission, who are located in the Northeastern United States.

Key elements of the regulations

The regulations set mandatory VOC concentration limits for 53 categories of architectural coatings, including traffic marking coatings. Concentration limits vary between 100 g/L and 800 g/L, depending on the category as set out in the Schedule of the regulations.

The traffic marking coating category is the only one subject to seasonal limits. Between May 1 and October 15, when the risk of ground-level ozone is higher due to the weather conditions, a person or company must not use traffic marking coatings in which the VOC concentration exceeds 150 g/L. For the remainder of the year, traffic marking coatings have a VOC concentration limit of 450 g/L for use, manufacture, import, sale and offer for sale.

The regulations include provisions that set out the:

  • determination of VOC concentrations and associated test methods
  • requirement of an accredited laboratory to perform an analysis for the purpose of the regulations
  • requirements for product labelling and record keeping
  • procedure to apply for a permit and the conditions of a permit issuance

Guidance

The guidance document, Analytical methods for determining VOC concentration and other parameters for the VOC regulations describes the analytical methods that we use to verify regulatory compliance.

Related links

Contact information

Products Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

1-888-391-3426 (toll free) or 819-938-4483
Email: ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca

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