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Government Notices

Federal Agenda for Reduction of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer and Commercial Products (March 2004)

Department of the Environment

Notice is hereby given that the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health have developed a federal agenda on the reduction of emissions of VOC from consumer and commercial products as annexed.

David Anderson
Minister of the Environment
Pierre S. Pettigrew
Minister of Health

Annex

The Minister of Environment and the Minister of Health intend to develop and implement a series of measures between 2004 and 2010 to further protect the health of Canadians and the environment from problems associated with air pollution by reducing emissions of VOC from consumer and commercial products.

Background

Particulate matter and ground-level ozone are the main ingredients of smog and cause serious health effects for Canadians, including thousands of premature deaths, hospital admissions and emergency room visits every year. Recent studies have confirmed these negative impacts and shown that air pollution is also associated with an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease. Up to two-thirds of fine particulate matter and almost all ground-level ozone are formed in the atmosphere from gaseous precursors. As a result, in order to address particulate matter and ozone, it is necessary to address the precursors as well.

VOC are precursor pollutants contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone and particulate matter. Anthropogenic sources of VOC include combustion and evaporation processes associated with transportation, the industrial sector, applications of paints and other surface coatings and general solvent use.

In recognition of the significant adverse human health effects of ozone and particulate matter, the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories, except Quebec, adopted new Canada-wide Standards (CWS) for both of these air pollutants. These standards establish ambient target levels to be achieved by 2010: 65ppb in the case of ozone and 30 µg/m3 for particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. Achieving these targets will require significant reduction of emissions of particulate matter, ozone, and their precursors, including VOC. VOC that participate in atmospheric photochemical reactions as precursors to particulate matter and ground-level ozone, were added to Schedule 1 (List of Toxic Substances) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) in July, 2003 to make available a full range of management instruments under the Act.

Emissions of VOC from solvents used in many consumer and commercial products constitute a significant source of anthropogenic VOC to the atmosphere. The scope of consumer and commercial products is very broad and includes not only household consumer products but many products used commercially and in industrial operations. This vast universe of products ranges from underarm anti-perspirants, paints used in homes, inks used in commercial printing, and degreasing agents. While individually small sources of VOC, in total they contribute significantly to the overall atmospheric loadings of VOC and the associated ozone and particulate matter problem.

The Government of Canada’s Interim Plan 2001 on Particulate Matter and Ozone includes a commitment to develop an action plan to reduce VOC from products. The $120.2 million package for clean air initiatives announced in the budget of February 2001 included resources for development and implementation of this plan, with additional resources for work on VOC-containing products included as part of the $40 million provided in the budget of February 2003.

To achieve domestic goals for ozone and fine particulate matter in some areas of Canada, transboundary measures are required to curb air pollution originating in the US In December 2000, Canada and the U.S. signed an agreement to reduce transboundary air pollution in the form of an Ozone Annex to the 1991 Canada - US Air Quality Agreement. The Ozone Annex commits Canada to take measures to reduce VOCemissions and contains specific commitments to take action to reduce VOCemissions from consumer and commercial products.

In October 2002, Environment Canada initiated consultations on the Federal Agenda by meeting with key industry stakeholder groups to ensure they were aware of the government’s intention to develop an action plan for consumer and commercial products and to encourage their participation in the consultation process on proposed measures. To facilitate stakeholder participation, Environment Canada developed a discussion document entitled Future Canadian Measures for Reducing Emissions of VOC from Consumer and Commercial Products to lay out the background on the various issues and to describe proposed actions that would serve as the basis for consultations.

In February 2003, Environment Canada distributed the discussion document to stakeholders, along with an invitation to a March 2003 consultation workshop. Over 55 representatives of industry, environmental and health groups, municipalities, and federal and provincial governments attended the workshop. All parties were invited to make presentations at the workshop and to provide written submissions outlining their views on the proposed actions. A workshop report was prepared by Environment Canada describing the major comments, points of view and proposals of participants and was distributed to all interested stakeholders. Environment Canada offered to meet on a bilateral basis following the workshop to further discuss their views and some industry stakeholders arranged meetings for this purpose.

Following a thorough review and full consideration of stakeholder comments, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health have developed a Federal Agenda of planned measures and future initiatives to reduce emissions of VOC from consumer and commercial products. In considering measures for the Agenda, particular attention has been paid to control actions in place in the US to identify opportunities for utilizing similar approaches and strategies in Canada.

Measures under this Federal Agenda are part of the overall effort required to reach the CWS targets, and complement other initiatives, such as the measures outlined in the Federal Agenda on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels and actions to be taken by provinces and territories. Federal Agenda measures to reduce VOCemissions from products will also deliver on the commitment under the Ozone Annex to the Canada-US Air Quality Agreement to take action in this area. Consistent with CWS and Ozone Annex delivery dates, all measures specified in the Agenda will be implemented by 2010. The following is a summary of the main action items respecting this Agenda.

Summary of Planned Actions on Reducing Volatile Organic Compounds Emissions from Consumer and Commercial Products

1. Action on National Emission Standards for Volatile Organic Compounds Content of Consumer and Commercial Products

The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health intend to proceed with the development of regulations under Part 5 of CEPA 1999 to establish national VOC emissions standards for certain consumer and commercial products by prescribing maximum VOC content limits. The intent of these regulations is to align with similar requirements implemented in the US The primary point of reference for such alignment will be regulatory measures by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA); however, regulatory actions taken by US regional authorities to achieve the US National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ground-level ozone, such as the States of the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) (22 northeastern and mid-western States) and the State of California, will also be considered. The following specific regulatory initiatives are planned.

Consumer Products
  • Proposed Regulations under CEPA 1999 will be developed for national VOC emission standards for certain categories of consumer products; aligned with the requirements of the USEPA rule, National VOC Emission Standards for Consumer Products, September 1998, and taking into consideration the requirements of the US OTC Model Rule for Consumer Products, March 2001, where appropriate.
  • The proposed Regulations will be developed through the regulatory process, commencing in 2004 with implementation by 2007.
  • The voluntary measures proposed in the CEPA 1999 Guideline for Reducing Emissions of VOC from Consumer Products, November 2002, will be considered in the development of the proposed Regulations. The recommended emission standards included in the Guideline are based on the USEPA rule.
  • As part of the Formulants Program, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency will manage VOC content in pesticide products included in the USEPA rule, under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act. A strategy and any instruments for managing VOC in pesticides will be developed, commencing in 2004 with implementation by 2007.
Architectural and Industrial Maintenance Coatings
  • Proposed Regulations under CEPA 1999 will be developed for national VOC emission standards for certain categories of architectural and industrial maintenance (AIM) coatings; aligned with the requirements of the USEPA rule, National VOC Emission Standards for Architectural Coatings, September 1998, and taking into consideration the requirements of the US OTC Model Rule for AIMCoatings, March 2001, where appropriate.
  • The proposed Regulations will be developed through the regulatory process, commencing in 2004 with implementation by 2006.
Automobile Refinish Coatings
  • Proposed Regulations under CEPA 1999 will be developed for national VOC emission standards for automobile refinish coatings; aligned with the requirements of the USEPArule, National VOC Emission Standards for Automobile Refinish Coatings, September 1998, and taking into consideration the US OTC Model Rule for Mobile Equipment Repair and Refinishing, March 2001, and the National Standards for the VOC Content of Canadian Commercial/Industrial Surface Coating Products - Automotive Refinishing, October 1998, developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME).
  • The proposed Regulations will be developed through the regulatory process, commencing in 2004 with implementation by 2007.
Future Action on Other Consumer and Commercial Products
  • Over the longer term, the Ministers of Environment and Health intend to continue the approach of generally aligning Canadian national emission standards for the VOC content of consumer and commercial products with national actions taken in the US. In the next few years the USEPA will determine the control strategies to be implemented for a number of additional consumer and commercial product categories and the establishment of national regulatory standards may be the option selected in some cases. Early indications are that aerosol spray paints are one category for which the USEPA is strongly considering this approach. In determining future actions, environmental requirements or recommendations developed by the European Union will also be taken into account. There may also be instances where Canada determines additional action on national regulatory standards is required to protect the health of Canadians and the environment.
  • The Ministers will determine, by 2006, the strategy with regards to development and implementation of additional national regulatory standards for consumer and commercial products over the 2007 - 2010 period.
  • The USEPA is considering utilizing the ozone-forming potential (often termed "reactivity") of VOCspecies in the determination of standards to be specified in future control instruments. It is intended to move in-step with USEPAinitiatives on utilizing this approach as the basis of emission standard development for consumer and commercial products to ensure consistency.

2. Action on Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer and Commercial Products at the Point of End-Use

Agreements with End-users

In certain situations, emissions from the use of VOC-containing products may be most efficiently addressed at the point of end-use. The USEPA has opted to use end-use control instruments, rather than national regulatory emission standards, in such cases. While all preventive and control options will continue to be kept open, the initial option is to utilize Environmental Performance Agreements, or other voluntary instruments, for similar sector-oriented initiatives in Canada.

  • Environment Canada will pursue the negotiation of an Environmental Performance Agreement with the manufacturers of automobiles and light duty trucks, which will include provisions for the reduction of VOC emissions from coatings used in the assembly phase of these vehicles. In determining the specifications for VOC reductions, careful consideration will be given to alignment with the USEPA requirements included within the Control Technique Guideline for users of auto and light truck assembly coatings. This Environment Performance Agreement is targeted for completion by 2005.
  • Environment Canada will pursue the development of an Environmental Performance Agreement with major aerospace operations to address VOC reductions from coatings used for manufacturing and rework. In developing specifications for the instrument, careful consideration will be given to the Control Technique Guideline developed by the USEPA for this sector.
  • Environment Canada will build upon VOC control initiatives included in the 2002 Environmental Performance Agreement with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association. Environment Canada intends to pursue the renewal of this Agreement beyond the current 2007 expiry date, with inclusion of VOC reduction measures consistent with the requirements to be developed by the USEPAfor VOCcontrols for plastic parts coatings. The renewed Environmental Performance Agreement will be in place by 2008.
  • Environment Canada will pursue development of Environmental Performance Agreements, or other appropriate voluntary instruments, to address VOC emissions from products used in printing and publishing operations. Due to the variety of operations in this sector, Environment Canada will initially develop a strategy for federal action which will include careful consideration of initiatives by the USEPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in the areas of lithographic printing materials, flexible package printing materials, letterpress printing materials and paper, film and foil coatings. The strategy will be determined by 2005 and actions identified in place by 2009.
  • Environment Canada will also review existing voluntary agreements to which it is a partner and identify, by 2005, any which could usefully be modified to address VOC-containing products.
Promotion and Outreach
  • Environment Canada intends to analyze actions taken in the US by the OTCand the CARB to control VOC emissions from degreasing and commercial cleaning products on the basis of volatility and content requirements in order to determine the feasibility and practicality of developing a guideline under CEPA 1999 modeled on this approach. Such a measure would be complementary to the equipment design and operation criteria of the Environmental Code of Practice for the Reduction of Solvent Emissions from Commercial and Industrial Degreasing Facilities (1995) developed by the CCME.
  • Environment Canada will promote adoption by Canadian industry of the best practices for VOC emissions control and reduction developed by the CCMEwith respect to degreasing (1995), printing (1999), automotive refinish coating (1998), and industrial maintenance coating (2001). This information is the product of a significant federal/provincial/territorial effort and offers considerable reduction potential if widely applied. Environment Canada’s promotion activities will be in cooperation with provinces and territories. This activity will be ongoing over the course of the Agenda.
  • The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) will report on VOCemissions from facilities that are major users of VOC-containing products. This effort will provide a yearly report card on the success of reduction efforts at these sites.

3. Action on Federal House Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer and Commercial Products

Green Procurement

Greener government purchasing is part of the Government of Canada’s larger goal to integrate sustainable development into the day-to-day decision-making at federal operations. In addition, by virtue of being the largest single buyer and purchaser in Canada, the Government of Canada, through its purchasing practices, can have a significant impact on the products and services available in the marketplace. Effective use of federal purchasing offers the opportunity to influence industry by strengthening market demand for low VOC content products and the implementation of best available VOC control practices at provider operations. Consequently, green procurement not only results in the direct reduction of VOC emissions from federal operations, it also leverages additional reductions in the private sector.

  • Environment Canada, working with other federal departments and agencies, intends to pursue the development of criteria which will identify low VOC content consumer and commercial products for the purpose of government-wide green procurement. The basis of such specifications will be low VOC content products certified under the Environmental Choice Program and recommended VOC content limits developed by the CCMEfor a variety of consumer and commercial products.
  • Environment Canada will work with other federal departments and agencies to develop criteria for green procurement from private sector providers of services in publishing/printing, auto-refinishing, painting/coating, and degreasing. These specifications will facilitate the implementation by private sector providers of the VOC control and reduction measures recommended for these types of operations under relevant codes of practice and guidelines developed by the CCME.
  • These initiatives relevant to green procurement specifications for the federal government will be completed by 2006.
Preventive and Control Measures under Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999
  • The Minister of Environment will develop preventive and control measures under Part 9 of CEPA 1999 specific to (i) the use of industrial maintenance coatings and (ii) degreasing. Direction (e.g., guidelines, codes of practice, regulations) will be provided to federal operations which are significant users of industrial maintenance and degreasing products on VOCcontent standards and control/capture measures to be implemented. In developing the instruments careful consideration will be given to information specific to those two categories of products developed by the CCME. The preventive and control measures will be completed by 2008.
  • Should some provinces and/or territories choose to utilize mandatory requirements in implementing their action plans to achieve CWS for particulate matter and ozone, action under Part 9 of CEPA1999 may be considered for federal operations in that jurisdiction to effect equivalent or better requirements.

Contact

Ms. Peggy Farnsworth
Director, Transboundary Air Issues Branch
Air Pollution Prevention Directorate
Environment Canada
351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0H3
Telephone: 819-994-9535
Fax: 819-994-3479

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