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New EPA Standards
Mark Porreca

Federal EPA stands on volatile organic compounds (VOC) contents took effect in September. Despite previous delays, the EPA finally has resolved the allowable limits and we do not expect any more surprises.

In everyday production, farm release agents are subject to these regulations. VOC are typically solvents, i.e. liquids that dissolve other things. Solvents can come in the form of mineral spirits ox even water. When referring to solvents, however, federal and state regulators generally mean diesel fuel, benzene, xylol and similar VOC solvents. Haw are they measured?

These compounds give off a substance (organic material) when heated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Federal standards are 450 grams per liter, so the new federal EPA standard doesn't eliminate but rather regulates allowable quantities.

Individual states rosy have more stringent regulations than the federal government. For example, New Jersey, New York and California are currently requiring a limit of 250 g/1. So you need to be aware of what product is being shipped where. Chances are you may be required to meet a particular state regulation, regardless of where your product is manufactured.

While a good quality reactive form release chemically changes and the carrier (be it mineral spirits, etc.) evaporates and nothing is actually transferred to the concrete doesn't insure that the destination state will accept this argument.

The best policy, if you want to be sure to cover all the bases, is to adhere to the most stringent EPA state requirement an each of your products.

What about water‑based releases? They are not necessarily user friendly or EPA compliant. They can be toxic and/or carcinogenic. MSDS sheets alone do not necessarily determine EPA friendliness either. Check labels and specification sheets. As form releases, they sometimes are hard to use, subject to viscosity changes due to temperature fluctuation: and Class I or Class II finishes also are difficult to achieve.

In closing, a reminder: In the struggle to meet deadlines, produce high quality product and still show a profit, we sometimes forget with form releases that application procedures are as important as product quality.

If you are interested in more analysis regarding farm releases, contact me at (800) 332‑7090. I can send you taro brochures that go into more detail on this subject.

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Precast Concrete Association of Virginia
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