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What You Need To Know About VOCs

Homeowners And Decorative Concrete Applicators Should Care About VOCs


VOCs in Paint and Coatings

What are VOCs?

Quite simply, VOCs are an abbreviation for Volatile Organic Compounds. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined VOCs as including any compound of carbon which participates in photochemical reactions. The EPA exempts certain compounds that have been found to have negligible photochemical reactivity.

Why Are VOCs Important?

When hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the atmosphere come together in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, they react to create ozone and other oxidants. This production of ozone from VOCs is the primary issue of concern.

“Bad” Ozone vs. “Good” Ozone

Ozone is both good and bad, it just depends on where it is found. Ozone occurs in two layers of the atmosphere. Up high, Ozone is a “good” thing as it actually blocks harmful UV rays from coming to the ground where it can cause skin cancer and damage crops and vegetation. Down low, at ground-level, ozone is “bad”, as ground level ozone is an air pollutant that is harmful to breathe and will also damage crops, trees and other vegetation. Most of us have heard or seen on the TV news or radio the “ozone alerts” or “ozone levels”. This is why these reports are made. This ground level ozone is a primary component of urban smog and is essentially why we are concerned about VOCs, since they can eventually result in production of ozone.

What Causes "Bad" Ozone?

Ground-level or "bad" ozone is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC. And when we think about paint, resins and coatings, we are primarily concerned with the solvents used, as these are typically the VOC generating compounds that later can react with UV and form ozone.

What Is Being Done About "Bad" Ozone?

With the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970, the EPA adopted a new regulatory objective to limit all volatile organic compounds emitted into the atmosphere. These regulations are designed to limit and reduce NOx and VOC emissions from vehicles, industrial facilities, and electric utilities. Programs are also aimed at reducing pollution by reformulating fuels and consumer/commercial products, such as paints and chemical solvents that contain VOCs.

In regards to coatings, the EPA establishes and publishes limits on VOC content in mass per volume.

Do Slide-Lok’s Products Conform to the EPA VOCs Regulations?

Slide-Lok’s decorative concrete coatings have been formulated to meet or exceed the most stringent VOC regulations anywhere in North America today, including California, while maintaining exceptional product performance. So when you purchase resins or coatings from Slide-Lok, you can be assured that you are purchasing products that conform with the strictest of the EPA’s VOC regulations.

Keywords: VOC, VOCs, Volatile, Organic, Compound, Paint, Resins, Coatings, Ozone

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