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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Outdoor Air - Industry, Business, and Home: Painting and Coating Operations - 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 painting and coating operations. The topics below address the following questions:

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What are painting and coating operations?

Painting and coating operations preserve, protect, and decorate many products made from a variety of materials including metal, wood, and plastics. Activities at painting and coating operations include glue or adhesive applications, paint or varnish application, and protective coating application, all of which may release pollutants into the air and may contribute to health concerns in the operations facility and the community.

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What kinds of pollutants are emitted from painting and coating operations?

Painting and coating operations emit pollutant such as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). These pollutants can contribute to health problems that may affect shop employees, customers, and the community. While Federal, state, local, and Tribal regulations limit the amount of emissions from painting and coating operations, dangerous releases of HAPs can occur if a painting and coating shop does not operate in compliance with regulations.

  • Lubricants, degreasers, and cleaners 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.

For more information on the toxicity of these pollutants, check out information in EPA's Health Effects Notebook and 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 painting and coating operations reduce air pollution?

  • Make Connections
    • Get to know local painting and coating operations 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.
  • 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.
  • Sponsor Training
    • Small facilities may need funding in order to attend or provide training.
    • Improved skills lead to reduced paint usage and exposure for workers.
  • 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 painting and coating operations sector are available?

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