Brussels – A report ordered by the European Commission’s environment
directorate general has called for additional demands on the automobile refinishing
industry to reduce the amount of dangerous emissions being produced by coatings
containing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).

It has been suggested that the commission considers proposing an EU regulation
imposing a “product organic solvent ceiling or reduction target (based
on environmental protection objectives) per unit of output” of automobile
paints and coatings.

These include gun wash, paint stripper, degreasers, polishers, primers, sealers,
surface paints, textured finishes, anti-chip coatings, interior finishes and
weldable primers.

Any new restrictions would build on emissions limits imposed on the refinishing
industry by the 1999 Volatile Organic Compounds Directive. They would be based
on the reductions achievable by the use of available low VOC coatings.

The report estimates that VOC emissions could be further cut by between 19
and 48% in this way, with the total additional cost of adopting these low VOC
coatings of 150 million euros in the first year and 66 million euros thereafter,
(2,300 euros and 900 euros per year for a medium sized body shop).

It is said that most costs would probably be absorbed by the auto industry,
with some being passed onto customers.