Environment Canada

Environment Canada

September 30, 2009 10:48 ET

The Government of Canada Takes Action to Reduce VOC Emissions From the Architectural Coatings Sector

GATINEAU, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 30, 2009) - The Minister of the Environment, Jim Prentice, today announced new regulations to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the architectural coatings sector through products such as paints, finishes, dyes, and varnishes. VOCs are pollutants that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and particulate matter, two key smog components.

"Following the introduction of its regulations to reduce VOC emissions from automotive refinishing products, the Government of Canada has once again illustrated its determination to clean up the air in order to protect the environment and the health of Canadians", said Minister Prentice. "Since VOC emissions contribute to the creation of smog, these regulations will help reduce the harmful effects of smog on humans and the environment."

"These new regulations targeting VOC emissions from products such as paints, stains and varnishes are one of a series of regulations aimed at reducing harmful VOC emissions from consumer and commercial products," said Canada's Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq. "This new action will help protect the health of Canadians and help keep exposure to these emissions at low levels."

The regulations set maximum VOC concentration limits for 53 categories of coatings and will apply to all products made, imported, sold, or marketed in Canada. They also cover the use of traffic marking coatings. The requirements, which are similar to requirements in the United States, were established pursuant to consultations with sector stakeholders.

Annual VOC emission reductions from architectural coatings are expected to average 28%, which represents a cumulative reduction of approximately 506 000 tons over 25 years. Combined with other VOC initiatives, these measures will help reduce two of the main components of smog - ground-level ozone and particulate matter. This should prove to be beneficial to human health, agriculture, forestry, and ecosystems.

In June 2003, the Government of Canada added VOCs to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, (1999) (CEPA (1999)). This addition gave the government the authority to develop VOC control measures, such as these regulations, under CEPA (1999).

This initiative to reduce VOC emissions from architectural coatings follows the recent adoption of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations.

For more information on these regulations or other initiatives to reduce VOC emissions from consumer and commercial products, please visit www.ec.gc.ca/nopp/voc .

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations