Architectural coatings are products that are applied to stationary structures and their accessories. They include house paints, stains, industrial maintenance coatings, traffic coatings, and many other products. When these coatings are applied, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted from the coatings and from the solvents that are used for thinning the coatings and cleaning up application equipment.
Control of VOC emissions from architectural coatings is primarily the responsibility of the air districts. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) serves as an oversight agency and provides assistance to the districts, such as developing a Suggested Control Measure (SCM) for architectural coatings. The SCM serves as a model rule that can be adopted by districts throughout California. CARB approved an SCM for architectural coatings in 1977 and updated it in 1985, 1989, 2000, 2007, and 2019. While CARB provides support to the districts by developing the SCM, the districts are ultimately responsible for adopting, implementing, and enforcing architectural coating rules in California.
The state of California is subdivided into 58 counties, 14 air basins, and 35 local districts. Currently, 22 of the 35 air districts have architectural coating rules; 15 are based on the SCM that the Board approved in 2007 and six are based on the 2000 SCM. South Coast AQMD is covered by Rule 1113, which is more stringent than the 2019 SCM. The remaining 13 districts are covered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Architectural Coatings: National Volatile Organic Compounds Emission Standards (National Rule).
The rules in each district are dynamic and subject to change. CARB recommends that the air district be contacted if specific information is wanted on a particular rule. To be notified if rules in a particular air district are amended, ask to be placed on the district's mailing list. Although CARB promotes and encourages uniformity among rules in each district, due to the unique air pollution problems in each district, rules may be tailored to meet these conditions for each district. Hence, adjacent districts may have different rules.
To ensure compliance with district regulations, businesses who perform coating activities or provide coatings for use in one or more areas of California should contact the local district in each area that a facility is located or the coating will be used. The district(s) can help identify any requirements that may exist. The regulations/rules that have been adopted in each district apply only to the geographic boundaries of the district. For your convenience a district contact list is available from this web page.