SJM Auto Sales and Repair is proud to announce the replacement of our solvent-based color coat with a water-based color coat. But what does that mean for you, the customer? And what does it mean for the environment?
Water-borne refinishing products are replacing solvent-borne refinishing products because they emit less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) including toluene, xylene, methyl ethyl ketone, and ethyl benzene than solvent-borne materials, making water-borne paints less toxic. The VOC level is reduced by almost one-half. VOCs contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, smog production, and adverse health effects.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere. A wide range of carbon-based molecules, such as aldehydes, ketones, and other light hydrocarbons, are VOCs. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a VOC as any organic compound that participates in a photoreaction.
When comparing water-borne and solvent-borne products, the main difference is that water is used to replace a significant portion of the solvents as the carrier. Water evaporates from the basecoat, much like solvents evaporate from solvent-borne products. Water-borne materials still contain some solvents. Because a main ingredient is water and the solvent content is lower, water-borne products also create less of a risk of flammable issues than solvent-based products. Their use will reduce air emission and improve worker health and safety. The pot life of the water-borne products is much longer and unused coatings can be saved in a sealed container for later use, thereby reducing waste disposal. Paint guns can be cleaned with water or water-based solutions rather than paint thinner, acetone, or methylacetate which eliminates even more VOCs and HAPs being released into the atmosphere.
Legislation has been passed in several U.S. states and for all of Canada that requires lowering the amount of VOCs being emitted into the environment. In California, for example, it is estimated 20.7 tons of VOCs are emitted every day. The goal is to reduce that to 5.1 tons per day, a 75% reduction. Using water-borne materials helps provide compliance to these regulations.