What Does Canada’s Shift to California’s Chemical Standards Mean?

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Recently, Environment Canada (EC) set recommendations for VOC limits on various consumer products throughout Canada.  The proposal follows legislation that has been enacted in the United States, specifically in California. A recent article in Paint & Coatings Industry Magazine raises some important points and questions regarding this strategy. In particular, why should Canada base their legislation on one state’s rules, when other places in the United States follow different regulations?

California’s regulations mandate a 3% limit for chemically cured products and a 1.5% limit for non-chemically cured products. This is significantly less than other parts of the United States where 4% is the norm for all sealant categories.

The Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC) has come out with ideas that look at larger regions of the U.S., rather than just one state. For example, ASC recommended adopting the Ozone Transport Commissions (OTC) Model Rule limits, which represent a grouping of 11 states.
Another issue relates to the geographic region of model states when considering statutes to follow. For automotive refinishing products, or other aftermarket goods, different climates present different challenges. Certain chemicals are responsible for giving windshield wiper anti-freeze it’s “anti-freeze” properties. In California, where weather conditions are more temperate, having less of these chemicals usually will not have a negative impact on function. But in areas of Canada where average winter temperatures fall well below freezing, products are expected to work under severe conditions.


Our team works to continuously stay on top of the latest information pertaining to Canada’s VOC limits. To learn more about Environment Canada’s Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations, visit their website.

Adrian Dion