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.

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