VOC Paints Directive

VOC Paints Directive 2004/42/EC sets VOC emission limits due to the use of organic solvents in certain paints & varnishes and vehicle refinishing products.
This Directive, which amends VOC Solvents Directive 1999/13/EC, establishes limit values for the maximum VOC content in decorative paints and other defined products.

Since January 2007 ‘automotive’ paint aerosols are regulated as ‘vehicle refinishing products’ under ‘a special finishes’ category. They represent about 50% of all paint aerosols manufactured within the European Union.

As required under the review clause of the Directive, an assessment was performed on measures that could potentially result in a further reduction of VOC emissions (i.e. the widening of the scope of the Directive and the tightening of its VOC limit values for vehicle refinishing products).
However, even regulating a very wide range of different products would deliver only modest potential emission reductions and this would come with significant implementation problems, as well as with increased administrative burden and costs. In particular, important concerns remain with regard to the uncertain impacts on consumer behaviour and the likely increase of the administrative burden of regulating non-coating products.

Furthermore, according to the latest results of the integrated assessment modelling, a strengthening of the existing VOC emission reduction measures seems not to be required to achieve the intermediate objectives of the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution (2005). This will be further assessed over the coming years as part of the ongoing work related to the review of the EU Air Policy. Therefore, amending the scope or limit values of the VOC Paints Directive is currently not justified.

Specific VOCs are typically:
– Solvents for mixing the other ingredients
– Propellants for delivering the product (n.b.: liquefied propellants are also co-solvents)
– Preservatives (n.b.: alcohol also supports product preservation purposes)
– Fragrance raw materials in order to make the products’ scents

The main VOCs used in aerosol products have low or negligible Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP), specifically in comparison to biogenic VOCs.