Starting this past January, contractors on the Eastern seaboard had to adjust to new products, or new versions of old products, thanks to regulations that reduced the allowable limits of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are found in a variety of building products, including adhesives and oil-based paints and stains. Organic chemicals within VOCs become components of smog when they are released into the air.
The laws were handed down by the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC), a 13-state collaboration that advises the EPA on ways to reduce air pollution in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and part of Northern Virginia all adopted the new rules, while the other OTC member states — Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut — are expected to join in within the next few years.
The transition has proved to be relatively smooth one thus far. The regulations are based on those that have been in place in California since the beginning of 2003. Manufacturers have therefore had plenty of time to develop products that comply with the new rules.