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A European Commission review of the 2004 paints directive has led to Brussels concluding it will not propose expanding the products covered by its volatile organic compounds (VOC) emission limits or tightening them for vehicle refinishing products.
Both topics were subjects of a mandatory assessment by Brussels. In a resulting report, the Commission said: "Even regulating a very wide range of different products would deliver only modest potential emission reductions and this would come with significant implementation problems, as well as with increased administrative burden and costs.”
It added the potential environmental benefits were hard to estimate because of unpredictable consumer behaviour. The review concluded there could be other ways of reducing VOC emissions adding, "amending the scope or limit values of the paints directive is not justified at this stage.” The report also highlighted a series of implementation problems with the existing law.
One was clashes with the 1999 VOC solvent emissions directive, which exempts, from VOC controls, certain professionally applied products. That means "paints and varnishes within the same product category (eg for wood coating activities) may be subject to different VOC requirements depending on their use. Ensuring that these paints are only used in compliant installations is challenging for the competent authorities,” said the report.
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