NEWS ALERT: Are You Confused About VOCs? Here’s How to Navigate Cortec® Coatings

High VOC, low VOC, zero VOC—these days, it can be hard to keep track of VOC regulations for coatings—especially since they often vary from region to region. The bottom line is that, typically, the more VOCs that users can avoid, the better. Cortec® offers these suggestions for navigating the world of paint VOCs, particularly when it comes to Cortec® Coatings for metal.

Why Do VOCs Matter?

VOCs are volatile organic compounds that vaporize into the air as a coating dries, causing a potential health hazard for those that breathe in the paint fumes. Because VOCs contribute to the amount of ozone in the air (a health hazard to humans), the U.S. EPA has been in the business of regulating these substances for more than two decades. Coatings industries are required to calculate VOC levels and report these results. Generally, industrial coatings with VOCs less than 3.5 lbs/gal (420 g/L) (all Cortec® Coatings) fall within VOC compliance at the national U.S. level, although coating users ultimately must verify and comply with local guidelines.

Low VOC and Zero VOC

The terms “low VOC” and “zero VOC” have also become popular, mostly in reference to consumer paints. While meeting these levels is not necessarily mandatory for industrial users, it does provide a helpful rule of thumb for those who are looking for ways to be “greener” or comply with environmental health and safety requirements at their own company. The generally accepted level for “low VOC” is <0.41 lbs/gal (<50 g/L) and for “zero VOC” is <0.04 lbs/gal (<5 g/L).

Choosing a Cortec® Coating

Many Cortec® Coatings fall into the lower range of VOCs (especially those that are water-based). Several are low VOC or zero VOC. Others that do not quite meet the low VOC definition still fall well within the range of compliancy in many regions. While a general rule of thumb is to opt for lower VOCs where possible, sometimes other factors such as application needs and customer specifications play into the decision and call for a coating that may not qualify as the lowest VOC on the list. The following chart includes VOCs of some of our most popular or significant coatings to help guide your selection.

If you are looking for a low or no VOC anticorrosion coating, be sure to contact us to discuss options. Some of these options are removable. Some are permanent. Some protect with a very thin unnoticeable clear coating. Altogether, they provide a great range of options to meet your environmental, health, and safety needs. Contact us to learn more:

Keywords: coating VOCs, VOC levels, VOC standards, Cortec Coatings, low VOC coatings, zero VOC coatings, VOC compliant, anticorrosion coating, coatings for metal

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