US establishes tougher rules for volatile organic compounds

Carbon-based chemicals also known as Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are invisible and can vaporize at room temperature. Cleaning products that emit VOCs are cosmetics, soaps and deodorants, along with other architectural and industrial maintenance (AIM) coatings such as deck stains, wall paints.

Researchers in the US have been studying environmental and health problems in relation to VOC. The research to study the adverse effects of VOCs became even graver when the journal Science in 2018 elaborated on the harmful effects of petroleum-based chemicals in consumer products which create more pollution than automobiles.

As a result, several states in the US have adopted stricter policies in order to reduce VOCs in consumer products and AIM coatings. Reports suggest, parts of Utah, Arizona and Virginia have adhered to tougher regulations in comparison to other states.

The latest nonattainment list was released by EPA in 2018, it comprised 51 areas in 22 states along with the District of Columbia. It is expected that the states follow federal regulations and reports suggest that more than 30 states do follow them, however some have adopted stricter rules than their state counterparts.

Owing to different set of rules across the country, US is facing the task of navigating a complex web of state and local level requirements. For instance, products with higher levels of VOC limits are available legally for sale in Nevada, while in California, these products adopt OTC based regulations.