Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere. Volatile organic compounds are numerous and varied. VOCs, or subsets of the VOCs, are often regulated.

The Air Resources Board's Coatings Program develops airborne toxic control measures to reduce the public health impacts from toxics in coatings. However, the development, adoption and enforcement of rules and regulations that control these emissions are primarily the responsibility of the local air districts.

What Are Organic Coatings? Organic coatings are materials that are applied to protect or beautify a surface. Coatings include, but are not limited to: paints, varnishes, stains, industrial maintenance coatings and they can be applied to stationary and/or mobile sources. When applied, the solvents in organic coatings can evaporate into the atmosphere and contribute to volatile organic compound and airborne toxic emissions.

  • Click here for California VOC limits (PDF).

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