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Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2-Butoxyethanol

Final Evaluation Report

Purpose of the Agreement

The Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2-Butoxyethanol (EPA) came into effect on January 24, 2007, and the 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations (Regulations) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on December 27, 2006.

The objective of this agreement was to provide assurance that all paint and coatings companies would take specific actions to ensure that any commercial paint and coatings for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations would only be sold to industrial and commercial applicators and not to the general public.

The final Regulations prohibit the manufacture, import, sale and offer for sale of products containing 2-butoxyethanol over a certain limit with some exemptions, such as commercial paint and coating (i.e. not for public consumers). Since the section regarding the sale of products subject to these Regulations only came into force two years after their publication, it was decided to develop the EPA in order to ensure that the specified commercial paints and coatings were not accessible to public consumers in the interim period. All known suppliers of commercial paints and coatings containing 2 butoxyethanol have signed the EPA.

This EPA was an example of how a negotiated agreement can be used to complement regulations, and to provide companies with a degree of flexibility in meeting health and environmental objectives. This EPA was implemented concurrently with the Regulations and complemented the risk management objective of controlling 2-butoxyethanol exposure to the general public.

Period in Effect

The five-year agreement, in effect from January 24, 2007, to January 24, 2012, was signed between Environment Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association, and 13 paint and coatings companies listed below:

  • Behl Chemicals Inc.
  • Cloverdale Paint Inc.
  • Consolidated Coatings Corporation
  • General Paint Corporation
  • Korzite Coatings Inc.
  • Multicolor Specialties Inc.
  • Peinture Micca Inc.
  • PPG Canada Inc.
  • The Sansin Corporation
  • The Sherwin Williams Company
  • Tnemec Company Inc.
  • True Value Mfg.
  • Valspar Corp.

Commitment Under the Agreement

As part of this agreement, Environment Canada and the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association were to develop a verification program, to be conducted by a third party. The objective of this program was to provide assurance that commercial paints and coatings for indoor use containing 2 butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the 2 Butoxyethanol Regulations were only sold to commercial and industrial applicators and not to the general public. The verification audit consisted of a number of site visits to stores or points of sale, by a verifier posing as a member of the general public, to determine whether the commercial paint and coating in question could be purchased.

For their part, commercial paint and coatings companies committed to take the necessary means to ensure that commercial paint and coatings were not available to the general public. They also committed to submitting annual reports to Environment Canada. Information requested in these reports included the identification of 2-butoxyethanol in paint, development of product inventories for products containing higher concentrations of 2-butoxyethanol than the limits set out in the Regulations, and companies’ activities with stores offering these products.

Annual Reports

All companies completed and submitted a copy of the annual report with all the information specified in Appendix 2 of the Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2 Butoxyethanol to Environment Canada by February 28th for every year this agreement was in effect. This information was used to develop the verification program used in the audits.

All of the information sent to Environment Canada by the commercial paint and coatings companies is summarized in the following chart:

  • The bar chart illustrates that there were 12 companies in 2006 that provided Environment Canada with annual reports.
  • By 2011 this number declined to four; the gradual decline in companies during the five-year duration of the agreement can be attributed to reformulation or product substitution.
  • The chart indicates that by 2007, all reporting companies with product containing 2-butoxyethanol indicated they had implemented policies to prevent the sale of prohibited products. Policies ranged from training, memos, labels, computerized sale restriction, among others.
  • By 2011, only three companies indicated that they had commercial paint and coatings products with 2-butoxyethanol.

Paint and Coatings Companies and Annual Reports

Figure 1 - Description

The bar chart illustrates the number of reports provided, the number of companies that implemented policies and the number of companies that had products containing 2-butoxyethanol during the 2006-2011 duration of the environmental performance agreement.

In 2006, 12 companies provided Environment Canada with annual reports, 6 companies implemented policies to ensure that any commercial paint and coatings for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations would only be sold to industrial and commercial applicators and not to the general public and 7 companies had products containing 2-butoxyethanol.

In 2007, 12 companies provided Environment Canada with annual reports, 7 companies implemented policies to ensure that any commercial paint and coatings for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations would only be sold to industrial and commercial applicators and not to the general public and 7 companies had products containing 2-butoxyethanol.

In 2008, 8 companies provided Environment Canada with annual reports, 7 companies implemented policies to ensure that any commercial paint and coatings for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations would only be sold to industrial and commercial applicators and not to the general public and 6 companies had products containing 2-butoxyethanol.

In 2009, 8 companies provided Environment Canada with annual reports, 6 companies implemented policies to ensure that any commercial paint and coatings for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations would only be sold to industrial and commercial applicators and not to the general public and 5 companies had products containing 2-butoxyethanol.

In 2010, 6 companies provided Environment Canada with annual reports, 5 companies implemented policies to ensure that any commercial paint and coatings for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations would only be sold to industrial and commercial applicators and not to the general public and 5 companies had products containing 2-butoxyethanol.

In 2011, 4 companies provided Environment Canada with annual reports, 3 companies implemented policies to ensure that any commercial paint and coatings for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol with a concentration exceeding the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations would only be sold to industrial and commercial applicators and not to the general public and 3 companies had products containing 2-butoxyethanol.

While the Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2 Butoxyethanol was in effect, several companies decided to leave the agreement: Behl Chemicals Inc., Consolidated Coatings Corporation, General Paint Corporation, The Sherwin Williams Company, True Value Mfg., Peinture Micca Inc., The Sansin Corporation, Cloverdale Paint Inc. and Korzite Coatings Inc. The main reason mentioned by these companies was that they were no longer selling commercial paint and coatings products for indoor use containing 2-butoxyethanol that exceeded the 2 Butoxyethanol Regulations concentration limits, through reformulation or product substitution.

Verification of the Audit Results

Two third-party verification audits of the remaining companies participating in the agreement were held in 2010 and 2011. These audits were prepared to authenticate and ensure conformity of the companies with the Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2 Butoxyethanol.

For both audits, the auditor posing as a member of the general public tried to purchase an indoor commercial paint and coatings product containing a concentration of 2 butoxyethanol over the limits set out in Schedule 1 of the 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations.

The following approach was taken in rating the results for both audits: a pass result would require the retailer, who had the product available, to refuse to sell it if the client was not a contractor. However, if the product was unavailable for purchase or for ordering through the store, the result achieved the objective of non-availability to the public without addressing the contractor status. Therefore, these results were considered to be inconclusive. Given the ambiguities presented by these alternative interpretations, it was decided to redefine the pass rating as “not available except to contractors” and the fail rating to “actual sale or offer for sale of the product being audited”.

Summary of the Results of the Two Verification Audits

For the Year 2010:

The first third-party verification audit was conducted from March 15 to March 26, 2010. A total of 12 locations in 5 cities were audited; 11 in person and 1 by phone.

The following company products were part of the verification:

  1. Cloverdale Paints Inc.
  2. Korzite Coatings Inc.
  3. Multicolor Specialties Inc.
  4. Peinture Micca Inc.
  5. PPG Canada Inc.
  6. Tnemec Company Inc.
  7. Valspar Corp.

As a representative sample of the target community, five cities were included in this third-party verification:

  1. Calgary
  2. Toronto
  3. Ottawa
  4. Montreal
  5. Halifax

The auditors reported the following results:

  • 2 out of 12 locations provided results that were inconclusive.

Of the 10 locations that gave explicit responses:

  • 3 out of 10 locations did not permit the sale to the general public, a pass rating (30%).
  • 7 out of 10 locations permitted the sale to the general public, a fail rating (70%).

For the Year 2011:

The second third-party verification audit was conducted from March 7 to March 24, 2011. A total of 48 locations in 10 cities were audited; 47 in person and 1 by phone. The same companies that were audited in 2010 were part of this second audit.

The following additional five cities were included in the 2011 third-party verification:

  1. Vancouver
  2. Edmonton
  3. Saskatoon
  4. Winnipeg
  5. Québec City

The auditors reported the following results:

  • 23 out of 48 locations provided results that were inconclusive.

Of the 25 locations that gave explicit responses:

  • 9 out of 25 locations did not permit the sale to the general public, a pass rating (36%).
  • 16 out of 25 locations permitted the sale to the general public, a fail rating (64%).

Conclusion

  • Since the Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2 Butoxyethanol came into effect in 2007, it encouraged some of the signatories to phase out 2 butoxyethanol from their paint and coatings products.
  • The Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2 Butoxyethanol also promotes better practices from the companies to ensure that prohibited products were not available to the general public.
  • By the second audit, 64% of locations permitted the sale of prohibited products to the third-party verification auditor, but most of these products are specialty commercial products identified in the annual reports and would not likely be in widespread demand by the general public.
  • Also, it is to be noted that by the second audit, observance of the agreement had increased to 36% from 30%, due to the involvement of the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association, through efforts to train its members.
  • In 2012, Environment Canada reviewed the findings from the annual reports and the audits, and decided not to renew the Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting 2 Butoxyethanol with the participating companies. The health of Canadians remains protected through the prohibition of paints and coatings sales to the general public under the 2 Butoxyethanol Regulationsthat came into force in 2008.
  • Companies must continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that these commercial paints and coatings are not available to the general public. Sale to the general public could be the subject of measures of enforcement under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
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