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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Outdoor Air - Industry, Business, and Home: Paint and Coating Manufacturing - Additional Information

Information provided for informational purposes onlyNote: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

This information will help you gain a better understanding of paint and coating manufacturing operations. The topics below address the following questions:

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What is paint and coating manufacturing?

Paint and coating manufacturing facilities produce paints, inks, adhesives, and a variety of other specialty coatings that preserve, protect, and decorate products. Activities such as mixing and cleaning operations may release pollutants into the air and cause health concerns in the community.

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What kinds of pollutants are emitted from paint and coating manufacturing?

Paint and Coating manufacturing facilities emit pollutants such as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particle pollution (dust). These pollutants can contribute to health problems that may affect facility employees, their families, and the community. While Federal, state, local, and Tribal regulations limit the amount of emissions from paint and coating manufacturing facilities, dangerous releases of HAPs can occur if a paint and coating manufacturing facility does not operate in compliance with regulations.

  • Mixing and cleaning operations can release some HAPs and VOC. Chemicals in these substances can react in the air to form ground-level ozone (smog), which has been linked to a number of respiratory effects. EPA has developed an extensive Web site related to ground-level ozone.
  • Pigment grinding and milling can emit particle pollution (dust), which can contain heavy metals and other HAPs. EPA has created a Web site related to particle pollution.
  • EPA's Health Effects Notebook also has information on heavy metals such as cadmium, cobalt, chromium, lead, and mercury.

For more information on the toxicity of these pollutants, check out information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). EPA also has more information available at its Air Toxics Web site.

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How can I help paint and coating manufacturing facilities reduce air pollution?

  • Make Connections
    • Get to know local paint and coating manufacturing facility owners and operators. They know best about the materials and processes used in their business and the regulations with which they must comply.
    • Keep local media aware of progress by sending them updates. Publicity can reward success and attract more public involvement.
    • One way to get to know local paint and coating manufacturers would be to learn about and promote the use of reformulated paints.
      • Users of reformulated paints and coatings may not have used these types of paints and coatings before and may require training to inform them that these paints and coatings will have the same functionality as conventional formulations.
      • You can assist paint and coating manufacturers by providing workshops or information about the advantages and disadvantages of reformulated paints and coatings. Emphasize reductions in hazardous air pollutant emissions, safety hazards, and the use of potentially toxic solvents.
      • Paint and coating manufacturers can institute management procedures and goals that require an evaluation of pollution prevention techniques before any products are formulated or re-formulated. Manufacturers should communicate to their suppliers their commitment to pollution prevention procedures and goals.
    • You can help promote a paint exchange program where members of the community "swap" unused paints. In other cases, paint can be returned to the manufacturer to rework it into other products.
    • The National Paint and Coatings Association Exit EPA Disclaimer has information related to paint exchange programs.
  • Make a Plan
    • One idea is to form a work group that includes local owners and operators to develop and implement workable pollution reduction plans.
  • Locate Resources
    • Find state, local, and Tribal contacts.
    • Use the resources listed on these Web pages to get help with analysis, technical information, equipment, training, and funding.
  • Reward Facilities
    • Use media connections to provide coverage for successful efforts. Positive publicity can mean increased business.
    • Visibly displayed awards or certificates may also increase business.

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What other Web sites related to pollution reduction in the paint and coating manufacturing sector are available?

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