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Scientific research on global warming has prompted the state of California to take legislative action on what some are calling landmark legislation. Recently published research indicates that global warming may be triggering a self-perpetuating climate time bomb. The warming thaws permafrost (soil that had been frozen for thousands of years) resulting in trapped greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide) bubbling up at a rate five times faster than originally measured. The released gases reach the atmosphere and help trap heat on Earth causing a “greenhouse” effect. This cycle had not been part of the already gloomy climate forecasts, thus raising concerns to a higher level.

California proposes to impose caps on greenhouse gas emissions, marking a clear break with federal regulations. The legislation, if signed by the Governor, would require the state Air Resources Board to adopt regulations to require the reporting and verification of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor and enforce compliance with the program. The state board would have the authority to adopt a schedule of fees to be paid by regulated sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The state regulations, implemented through the Air Resources Board, are expected to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 25 percent by the year 2020. “We can now move forward with developing a market-based system that makes California a world leader in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. The success of our system will be an example for other states and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues.”—commented the governor. Business leaders point to increased costs of compliance as a reason for businesses to scale back their California operations. Opponents of the proposal assert that the unattainable regulations will drive businesses and jobs out of California and into other states or other countries.

The legislation will affect major industries in the state, such as utility plants, oil and gas refineries and cement kilns. California is the 12th largest contributor of global warming gases in the world. A market based approach will allow businesses to buy, sell and trade emission credits with other companies.



The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed control techniques guidelines (CTG’s) in lieu of regulations for:

  • Lithographic printing materials
  • Letterpress printing materials
  • Flexible packaging printing materials
  • Flat wood paneling coatings
  • Industrial Cleaning Solvents

The Clean Air Act [Section 183 (e)(3) (C)] requires that the agency evaluate whether control technique guidelines will be as effective as national regulations in reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds from the categories listed above. Once finalized the CTG’s will act as federal guidance to states for reasonably available control technology (RACT). The table below lists examples of affected industries. The CTG’s are applicable to both consumer and commercial products.

Category Examples of affected facilities
Flexible packaging printing Rotogravure or flexographic printers processing paper, plastic films, aluminum foil, metalized or coated paper or film (i.e. bags, pouches, labels, liners)
Lithographic printing Lithographic printers using either web or sheet fed processes. Includes printing of: books, magazines, periodicals, labels, wrappers, catalogs, directories, financial and legal documents, business forms, advertising brochures, newspapers, calendars, tickets, coupons, greeting cards, and stamps.
Letterpress printing Printers that have letterpress operations on individual sheets or continuous rolls of substrate material.
Flat wood paneling Facilities that apply protective, decorative, or functional material to any interior, exterior, or hardboard panel product.
Industrial cleaning Facilities that perform cleaning operations associated with manufacturing, repair, and service operations across a wide variety of industry sectors.

Lithographic printing/letterpress printing

These two categories were combined by EPA for simplicity purposes because of their many similarities in terms of the types of inks and cleaning materials used. The CTG will impact facilities that emit 15 pounds per day of VOCs or more. There is an exception for heatset web offset lithography and heatset web letterpress printing, which does not require the installation of control for facilities emitting less than 25 tons per year of VOCs.

The EPA points to inks, fountain solutions (applied to the lithographic plate to render the non-image areas receptive to ink, not used in letterpress printing) and cleaning materials as the sources of VOC emissions. Heatset lithographic printing inks may contain up to 45 weight percent VOC, 80 percent of which is estimated to be volatilized in the dryer. In contrast, coldset inks, which, dry by absorption into the substrate or by oxidation, contain up to 35 weight percent VOC. Ninety five percent of the VOCs are retained in the substrate, making the VOC relatively low. No limits or controls are recommended for VOC emissions from sheet-fed and coldset web offset lithography.

The CTG indicates that control devices such as thermal oxidizers, catalytic oxidizers and chiller condensers are used by industry to reduce emissions. Additionally, ultraviolet and electron beam inks which, have negligible VOCs, are being used. The report goes on to say that “Low-VOC content waterborne cleaning materials have been tested but have not proven to be a satisfactory alternative.” For all types of offset lithographic printing as well as letterpress printing, the CTG recommends the use of cleaning materials with a VOC composite partial pressure less than 10 mm Hg at 20 degrees Celsius. This recommendation differs from the current local policy to exclude vapor pressure considerations.

Flexible packaging

The EPA documents show that the primary source of VOC emissions from the flexible packaging industry is evaporation of components of the printing inks, coatings, adhesives and cleaning materials. The two approaches listed as VOC reduction strategies are:

  1. Capture and/or control systems
  2. Pollution prevention such as the implementation of waterborne inks.

CTG recommendations for presses installed prior to March 14, 1995:

  • A control device with overall capture and control efficiency of 70 percent
  • 0.5 lb of VOC/lb of solids applied OR 0.10 lb of VOC/lb of materials applied

CTG recommendations for presses installed on or after March 14, 1995:

  • A control device with overall capture and control efficiency of 80 percent
  • 0.5 lb of VOC/lb of solids applied OR 0.10 lb of VOC/lb of materials applied

Flat wood paneling coatings

The CTG makes recommendations for paints, stains, sealers, topcoats, basecoats, primers, enamels, inks and adhesives used to manufacture flat wood panels. Paneling products impacted include interior and exterior construction of residential, commercial and institutional buildings. The draft provides the option of add-on controls with an overall control efficiency of 90 percent or an emissions limit of 250 grams per liter. The EPA used standards set by Placer County and the South Coast Air Quality Management District as the basis for the CTG.

Various work practice standards (e.g. closed containers used for storage, minimizing spills, conveyance through closed containers or pipes) are also recommended.



The California Air Resources Board proposes amendments expected to align the AB2588 Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Emission Inventory Criteria and Guidelines Regulation with the Air Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) for stationary diesel engines. The changes would streamline requirements for facilities that have complied with the ATCM reporting and emission control requirements, thereby minimizing and easing regulatory burdens on facilities that operate diesel engines.

The Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Information and Assessment Act of 1987, established a program to inventory air toxics emissions from facilities in California and to assess the potential risk to public health from exposure from these emissions. The public must be notified of any significant health risks associated with the emissions from high risk facilities. The facilities must reduce their air toxics emissions below the level of significance within five years. Previously, facilities were not required to include the risk from diesel particulate and thus, many facilities operating diesel engines were exempted from the program. The proposed changes will require that facilities assess the risk of diesel particulate matter (PM), using the new cancer potency for diesel PM and work in conjunction with the recently adopted ATCM for stationary diesel engines. The proposal incorporates the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s health risk assessment guidelines.

A key change is the removal of the 3,000 gallon per year exemption for stationary diesel engines. Businesses subject to the Act will be required to submit diesel engine information to the local air districts.

Facilities subject to diesel engine reporting requirements include:

--Facilities that operate diesel engines for more than 20 hour per year (combined total at the facility)

--Facilities that perform maintenance and testing on diesel engines (maintenance and testing hours are considered “routine and predictable” under the regulation and must be reported in the facility’s emission inventory).

A facility with a number of diesel engines will have to submit a diesel PM inventory to the district. For engines rated at 50 brake horsepower-hours or above, the report must include specific information, such as make, model and engine family, for each diesel engine.



Every 3 years, the South Coast Air Quality Management District develops the Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP). The plan is essentially the district’s blue print on how to achieve clean air standards. The current plan development dialogue includes a changeover from the one hour ozone standard to the new eight hour ozone standard. This conversion has resulted in higher incidents of exceedances.

Preliminary staff findings indicate that VOC emissions from stationary sources account for about 25% of the total VOC emissions inventory, with mobile sources, such as vehicles, being the main culprits for the bulk of the emissions. Staff estimates that stationary sources would have to reduce VOC emissions by an additional 75% in order to meet clean air goals.

In a meeting to discuss their Air Quality Management Plan, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the state Air Resources Board unveiled the new set of regulations necessary to achieve clean air. The state reports the hot spots in California are the South Coast and the San Joaquin Valley in Northern California. Some of the new concepts included:

-Best Available Control Technology Guidelines (now only used for new, modified or relocated sources) will apply to existing sources. That means, everything, old and new will need to meet the BACT standards;

-New Product Labeling with the AQMD seal of approval for super-compliant products;

-ARB will be conducting a survey to find out from raw materials suppliers and formulators what low VOC products are available. The state agency is especially interested in consumer products;

-Global warming and its impact on ozone production will now play a role.



The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) has recently reclassified Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) from a Group 3 to a Group 2B carcinogen. The action prompted industry groups to re-visit guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in regards to timelines for amending the Material Safety Data Sheets.
OSHA does not require that chemicals designated as IARC Group 3 Carcinogens (as IARC did with TiO2 in 1989) be identified as such on labels or MSDSs. However, IARC’s recent reclassification of TiO2 to a Group 2B, while not requiring labeling changes, will require a change to the MSDS of materials containing TiO2. The requirements do not take effect until IARC publishes its final monograph.
Industry groups sought guidance from OSHA when IARC changed the cancer classification of Formaldehyde from a Group 2B to a Group 1. At that time, OSHA reconfirmed that the “90 day clock” for amending Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) under the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS, 29 CFR 1910.1200), which starts upon becoming “newly aware” of a change of a chemical’s reclassification, does not start until the actual publication of the complete IARC monograph. In the case of TiO2, the IARC monograph (No. 93) has not yet been published. But, when it is published, it is expected that OSHA’s prior rationale in dealing with formaldehyde would apply.
Titanium dioxide accounts for approximately 70% of the total volume of pigment production. It is the most widely used white pigment. The substance is used for coloring paints, inks, plastics, fabrics, cosmetics and food. Facilities using coatings containing TiO2 should ensure that they obtain compliant MSDSs from their suppliers.



Fourteen states, including California, have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to require pesticide manufacturers to disclose on the label of their products all hazardous ingredients. The petitioners contend that more disclosure will lead to greater consumer awareness of the potential health and environmental impact of using pesticides.
Pesticides are used as consumer products by individuals in their residences but also by employers and employees at industrial facilities. "Under current EPA labeling requirements, a pesticide ingredient must be disclosed only if it is harmful to pests, not if it is harmful to people and the environment," said New Jersey Attorney General Zulima V. Farber.
Pesticide products also contain "inert" ingredients. Although intended to preserve or improve the effectiveness of the active ingredients in particular pesticides, these "inert" ingredients can be toxic themselves. Although almost 400 chemicals used for this purpose have been found by EPA or other federal agencies to be hazardous to human health and the environment, EPA does not require them to be identified on pesticide labels. Current EPA regulations allow the identity of almost all "inert" ingredients to be omitted from the label, based only on their function in the product, not on their health or environmental effects. States are pre-empted by federal law from requiring additional labeling for pesticides.
The request for a “right to know” regulation may impact facilities that use pesticides on site. The EPA has not issued a formal position on the issue and thus, the impact to business owners has not been fully explored.
Besides California, New York and New Jersey, 11 other states have joined in the EPA petition including: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.


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