Solvent Protector, California and the Future

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Upholstery protectors using solvent carriers have been a staple part of our industry for decades.  Solvent protectors have also been used on area rugs and even installed carpet. No water meant less concern over browning, shrinkage, colors bleeding and the fabric dried faster.

Products containing solvents, including protectors, have been the subject of increasing regulation over the years. (Industry long-timers will remember when 1,1,1 trichloroethane was the solvent spotter of choice.)  The trend to regulate continues with California leading the way.  History has shown that several others states will follow California’s lead over the next few years.

The regulations are put in place by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). From 1995 until 1997 Fabric Protectors were allowed to contain 75% volatile organic solvents (VOC).  For the period 1997 through the end of 2010, the allowance was reduced to 60%. Effective on December 31, 2010 the allowable percentage was reduced to 1%.  At 1% a protector would no longer be a solvent protector! So, solvent protectors for upholstery, carpet, rugs or any fabric have been outlawed by regulation. (Aerosol protectors can still contain up to 60% solvents.)

Definition – Volatile organic solvents include any solvent containing carbon that can evaporate and be a gas at normal temperatures. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and a few other carbon-containing compounds are not considered solvents and so are exempt from this particular regulation.

Does this signal doom and gloom for the upholstery, Oriental rug protecting portion of our businesses? Will all our bottom lines suffer?

Fortunately, the answer is NO! Bridgepoint’s formulators foresaw this eventuality and began working to develop an upholstery and Oriental rug protector that did not contain solvents. Of course this new protector would still need to prevent dye bleeding, browning and reduce the chance of shrinkage.  The result was Maxim Advanced for Upholstery with Dye-Loc!

This product has been tested by cleaners in the field and the results are in. It performs great! The addition of Dye-Loc along with new technology has produced a solvent-free protector for upholstery and Oriental rugs with no worries about bleeding. No health worries for the tech or the occupants of the home or building. None of the safety concerns raised by using solvents and it is safe for the environment meeting the CARB standards and any solvent regulations that will be adopted by California or anywhere else in the coming years.

Solvent protectors are now outlawed in California. Likely they will soon be outlawed in other states. But Bridgepoint’s Maxim Advanced or Upholstery saves the day. You’d better add a gallon or more to your van the next time you purchase cleaning supplies!

SUPPLEMENT

For those who want to confirm this for themselves, the rule is called “Regulation for Reducing Emissions from Consumer Products.” Key provisions are quoted below to answer some of the common questions.

To whom does the rule apply? – Article 2 § 94507 “this article shall apply to any person who sells, supplies, offers for sale, or manufactures consumer products for use in the state of California.”

What is a “consumer product?” § 94508. Definitions.

(a) For the purpose of this article, the following definitions apply:

“Consumer Product” means a chemically formulated product used by household and institutional consumers including, but not limited to, detergents; cleaning compounds; polishes; floor finishes; cosmetics; personal care products; home, lawn, and garden products; disinfectants; sanitizers; aerosol paints; and automotive specialty products; but does not include other paint products, furniture coatings, or architectural coatings.

So, are fabric protectors consumer products? Yes. They are specifically listed as being included and then defined in the same definitions section.

(53) “Fabric Protectant” means:

(B) for products manufactured on or after December 31, 2008: a product designed or labeled to be applied to fabric substrates to protect the surface from soiling from dirt or other impurities or to reduce absorption of liquid into the fabric’s fibers. “Fabric Protectant” does not include “Waterproofers,” or products labeled for use solely on leather. “Fabric Protectant” does not include pigmented products that are designed or labeled to be used primarily for coloring, products used for construction, reconstruction, modification, structural maintenance or repair of fabric substrates, or products that renew or restore fabric and qualifying as either “Clear Coating” or “Vinyl/Fabric/Leather/Polycarbonate Coating”

Some cleaners, distributors or manufacturers of fabric protectors and other cleaning products specifically asked CARB if cleaning products used by professional cleaning techs rather than by consumers would still be considered consumer products and thus covered by the regulations. In response CARB sent out the following notice.

Advisory from California EPA Air Resources Board

Number 307 November 2002

To: CONSUMER PRODUCTS MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND RETAILERS

Examples of products that do fall under the definition of “institutional product” or “industrial and institutional (I&I) product,” and are thus subject to the consumer products regulation, include products used in the general cleaning or maintenance of a facility. Typical I&I products are often similar to commonly available household products, and are used to perform tasks (such as cleaning, waxing, etc.) that are similar to those performed by household consumers. Examples of such I&I products include air fresheners, floor cleaners, floor waxes, general-purpose cleaners, and insecticides.

However, if a high-VOC product is designed and marketed for use in both an industrial setting and by household or institutional consumers, then it is illegal to sell this product in California. Such a sale would be illegal even though a particular sale may have been made to a company that intends to use the product in an industrial setting. If a product otherwise meets the definition of a “consumer product” under the regulation, it does not cease to be subject to the regulation simply because a particular sale happens to be to a manufacturing facility instead of an individual consumer.

Bridgepoint’s chemical consultant recently checked with CARB recently to be sure this was still the current understanding. We got this reply.

Finally, cleaning fluid products used by professional carpet cleaners in machines or otherwise, are included under the purview of the Consumer Products Regulation, even if the products are never sold to or are otherwise not available at retail stores etc.

I hope this helps.  Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.

Manager

Measures Development Section

California Air Resources Board

Posted by Scott   @   25 January 2011 0 comments
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