Jul 6, 2016

New Report Cites Decrease in TRI Air Emissions for Paint and Coatings Industry

​PAINT.ORG: A new report documents general downward trends in air emissions by the paint and coatings industry that have resulted from industry R&D, market demand, recent regulatory developments, and continuing market trends toward water-based coatings, powder coatings, ultraviolet cure coatings, and other processes, as well as lower-emitting coating products. The report analyzes Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) air emissions from the entire coatings manufacturing industry, with a focus on Clean Air Act air toxics and other chemicals of special interest. It presents 25-year trends in air emissions (1990-2014) and identifies the chemicals and facilities contributing the greatest toxicity-weighted hazard. TRI data have been used for this analysis for several reasons, most importantly because these data are available annually, allowing for the 25-year time series analysis.

The new report includes the following paint and coatings industry achievements:

  • 81% reduction in TRI air release toxics releases since 1990, and 94% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard
  • 82% reduction in TRI air toxics since 1990, and 94% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard
  • 92% reduction in TRI urban air toxics since 1990, and 92% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard
  • 90% reduction in TRI metal air toxics since 1990, and 94% reduction in toxicity weighted hazard

The report also includes air release trends for the top toxicity weighted chemicals:

  • Chromium and Chromium Compounds – 92% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Diisocyanates – 87% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Nickel and Nickel Compounds – 84% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Cobalt and Cobalt Compounds – 99% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Ethylbenzene – 75% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Acrylonitrile – 93% reduction in releases since 1990
  • 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene – 67% reduction in releases since 1990
  • Napthalene – 94% reduction in releases since 1990

The new report issued last month also details trends for the following:

  • Toxic Release Inventory Chemicals: These include 594 chemicals that cause one or more of the following: cancer or other chronic human health effects; significant adverse acute human health effects; or significant adverse environmental effects.
  • Toxic Release Inventory Air Toxics: Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants (HAP), are known or are suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects.
  • Urban Air Toxics: A subset of 30 hazardous air pollutants that present the greatest threats to public health in urban areas.
  • Toxic Release Metal Air Toxics: Of the TRI chemicals, 24 are metal.
  • Toxicity Weighted Hazard: Each TRI chemical can also weighted by a relative toxicity weight using EPA's Risk-Screening Environmental Indicator (RSEI) model – chemicals that have a greater toxic effect are weighted heavier than lower toxicity chemicals.

In preparation for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) review of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard for Miscellaneous Coatings Manufacturing (MCM) in the next two years, ACA's Environmental Management Committee sought out an independent consultant, Mesler Environmental Consulting, to research and document the industry's toxic release inventory emissions, as tracked by EPA. ACA is concerned that EPA will impose even more onerous and costly MCM facility add-on control, work practice, and monitoring requirements.

The new report's findings support ACA's longstanding position that the industry's efforts to manufacture products in an environmentally conscious way, without compromising product performance, have paid off; current VOC and HAP regulations are working; and further restricting these regulations are not necessary. The new report should help strengthen ACA's advocacy efforts for future regulatory proposals to install onerous facility controls, particularly for the EPA's MCM MACT.

ACA was a member of EPA's Sector Strategies Program between 2003 and 2009. As part of this program, EPA released three Sector Strategies Performance Reports (2004, 2006, and 2008) that cited the paint and coatings industry's significant environmental progress in reducing air emissions, among other improvements. The last publication in 2008 documented the paint and coatings industry's decrease in overall air emissions, release of criteria air pollutants, water use and discharge, and waste generation.

That EPA program was discontinued after 2008, but the last Sector Strategies Report documented significant decreases in the paint and coatings industry's TRI air emission trends from 1990 to 2003. Using this data, ACA advocacy efforts resulted in more technically sound and reasonable rules.

To view the new report, click here.