VOC laws deck log home sealing staining Maryland

VOC Law (Volatile Organic Compound) information for consumers

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What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

By Beth Borrego
Vice President, See Dirt Run!™ Inc.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are ingredients in many things from sealers, paints and coatings to cleaning solutions. They are an environmental concern for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and AQBs (air quality boards) all over the United States. VOCs have been shown to be detrimental, increasing stratospheric ozone deterioration while creating additional tropospheric ozone via common air pollutants which have been proven to be a public health hazard. Tropospheric ozone (ground level ozone) is created from reactions occurring between two significant air pollutants, VOCs and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The reactions of these components are contingent upon the presence of sunlight and heat creating more tropospheric ozone in the warmer summer months. The Code Red days we are all familiar with are a result of this reaction.

Stratospheric ozone is beneficial and helps to protect us from harmful UV radiation. Tropospheric ozone (ground level pollutants) is highly unsafe. Studies have shown that lung disease, increased asthma attacks and pulmonary disease are tied to the unhealthy levels of tropospheric ozone, which VOCs contribute to. According to EPA studies it “affects the normal function of the lung in many healthy humans.” Tropospheric ozone has been difficult to control because it is not emitted, but forms in the atmosphere via a photochemical process. Thusly, it has been determined that controlling VOCs is an important part of reducing tropospheric ozone.

California was the first state to enact VOC laws. Other states have subsequently reacted with laws of their own, and more states are expected to follow. The EPA is working on a VOC regulation that will be effective in all states nationwide.

Today, most manufacturers in the coatings industry are moving towards water based and water borne products as a result of the new VOC laws. All of the oil based products being sold into the states listed below are required to meet the reduced VOC levels by law. Beginning in January of 2005, all oil based products sold in these states, with the same product name as before in many cases, have been changed in formulation because the VOC content needed to be reduced in order for the product to remain on store shelves. What is still undetermined is if the longevity of these reformulated products is affected due to the formula changes. Contact our office to discuss the product you currently have installed on your home, deck or other wood surface.

Is your home affected by the new regulations?

  • DC = 1/1/05
  • DE = 1/1/05
  • MD = 1/1/05
  • ME = 1/1/05
  • NJ = 1/1/05
  • NY = 1/1/05
  • PA = 1/1/05
  • VA = 1/1/05
  • MA = 1/1/07
  • NH = 1/1/07
  • RI = 06/1/07
  • CT = 05/1/08
  • VT = To Be Determined

See Dirt Run! is committed to using environmentally friendly products designed to reduce the environmental impact on your project.

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