CARB Fines PPG for Products Exceeding Air Quality Rules

The California Air Resources Board today announced a $299,000 settlement with PPG Industries Inc., a global manufacturer of paints, coatings and specialty materials headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA for the company’s violation of state air quality regulations.

PPG sold, supplied and offered for sale non-compliant paint thinners and aerosol clear-coating products that were manufactured for use in California, but which exceeded the state’s air quality requirements for concentrations of volatile organic compounds.

“CARB is committed to enforcing consumer product rules to improve the air we all breathe and to help California meet federal ozone standards that protect public health,” CARB head of enforcement Todd Sax said. “Manufacturers such as PPG carry the greatest responsibility of supplying Californians with consumer products that comply with emissions standards. Their attention to the legal requirements related to the manufacture, importation and distribution of products significantly impacts California’s air quality.”

The PPG products contained concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs*) and aromatic compounds that exceeded state standards, a CARB investigation showed. Furthermore, the aerosol coating products exceeded the reactivity limit for clear coating as specified in state regulation. Together, the violations resulted in 5.42 tons of excess VOC emissions, 15.15 tons of excess aromatic compounds, and the formation of 2.98 tons of excess ground-level ozone.

PPG cooperated fully CARB said to resolve this matter and ceased sales of the noncompliant products to come into compliance with the state’s air quality regulations. Of the $299,000 that PPG agreed to pay, $149,800 will be deposited into CARB’s Air Pollution Control Fund, which funds projects and research to improve air quality. The remaining $149,200 will fund a supplemental environment project titled “Side Street Projects – Woodworking Bus.” The project will fund the purchase of new buses to replace older diesel-powered buses used for mobile classrooms. The mobile classrooms are used to teach woodworking skills to elementary school students.

*VOCs are gases released from solid or liquid products (everything from paint to hair spray), which contribute to ozone formation. An element of smog, ozone causes respiratory health effects including lung irritation, shortness of breath and coughing, and can aggravate asthma and other lung diseases. In 2005, after an extensive review of the scientific literature, CARB approved an eight-hour standard for ozone of 0.070 ppm and retained the one-hour 0.09 ppm standard previously established in 1987. Evidence from the reviewed studies indicates that significant harmful health effects could occur among both adults and children if exposed to levels above these standards. On October 1, 2015, the U.S. EPA lowered the national eight-hour standard from 0.075 ppm to 0.070 ppm.

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