8 September 2017

Zero VOC Paints – are they really better for the environment?

The British Coatings Federation (BCF) is describing how the use of claims that certain paint products are Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) free, are misleading consumers, specifiers and the construction industry as there is no such thing as a ‘Zero VOC paint’.

BCF’s article explains why such claims are false, and sets out the current legislative requirements for VOC content on labels, literature and promotional materials.

The paint industry across Europe, as represented by trade associations such as the BCF and the European Council of the Paint, Printing Ink and Artists' Colours Industry (CEPE), who have established a clear policy on this subject several years ago, to avoid false marketing activities and an unlevel playing field.

However, there are still a handful of companies in the UK that continue with Zero VOC claims. The enforcement authorities (Trading Standards) are now assisting the BCF in raising the awareness of the issue, and challenging these companies to take action.

Work is currently underway to develop a new approach to determine the impact of paints on the environment. The European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprinting (PEF) project have included the paint industry as one of 27 sectors, to develop a new way of calculating and reporting the different impacts that painting a building has on the environment.

Although it will take several years for the project to be finalised and launched, it is hoped that this approach should lead to a reliable and accurate way of comparing products for their impact on the environment.

For further information, please contact Trevor Fielding, Regulatory Affairs Manager at the British Coatings Federation.