The Role of the World Coatings Council in Advocacy and Policy

The Role of the World Coatings Council in Advocacy and Policy

The World Coatings Council provides a forum for information exchange and cooperation on the major issues and priorities facing paint and printing ink industries worldwide. The council acts as a focal point for monitoring and communicating specified international issues; develops recommendations and analyses on selected issues of common interest to the participating organizations and attempts to derive a common consensus position (considering information from policymakers in the governing bodies of the respective participants); coordinates industry positions and communicates with other international organizations, industry publications and other interested parties.


Marine Coatings

In 2008, the World Coatings Council (then IPPIC) was granted permanent non-governmental organization (NGO) status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN’s global standard-setting authority that regulates the safety, security, and environmental performance of international shipping and commerce. The IMO focuses its work on environmental issues particularly affecting the marine environment. Its main role is to create a governing international framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, and which is universally adopted and implemented.

The IMO’s regulatory reach extends to coatings used in the marine environment. Not only does the IMO address antifouling coatings under the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention), but it has also established demanding international requirements for certain protective coatings through the Performance Standards for Protective Coatings (PSPC).

As a result, the World Coatings Council established two committees dedicated to issues affecting marine coatings: the Antifouling Coatings Committee (AFCC) and Marine Coatings Technical Committee (MCTC). These committees are comprised of international companies that manufacture, supply, and sell marine coatings and their biocides worldwide. The committees engage at the IMO by supporting the development of technically sound regulations for marine coatings around the world.

At the IMO, the World Coatings Council primarily provides technical advice and expertise on critical issues pertaining to the AFS Convention, Biofouling Guidelines, PSPC, and the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Management Convention). In addition to its work at the IMO, the World Coatings Council also monitors regulatory activities affecting marine coatings and active substances in countries and regions throughout the world, including the United States, European Union, Japan, Australia, and countries in South America, Central America, and Asia.



Chemicals Management


The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) has developed a Chemical Management Regulatory Toolkit 2.0 to assist countries develop life-cycle-oriented and risk-based regulatory frameworks for chemical management that are based on sound science. The toolkit serves as a resource for national governments as they develop and update their chemicals management regulations. Below is a short overview of the toolkit.


Chemical management systems should consist of four elements:

  • Site and worker safety – Site and process safety standards and systems are the first steps to help reduce risks and incidents at chemical manufacturing facilities for workers, the environment, and the public.
  • Emergency response – Emergency response systems address chemical accidents,
    especially those occurring on plant sites and during transport.
  • National objective for regulatory action on chemicals management – Developing national objectives and a timeline to achieve the objectives is essential to successfully implementing a chemical control law and regulation.
  • Risk-based versus hazard-based regulatory systems – A risk-based approach incorporates an understanding of both hazard (toxicity) and exposure. It considers both the degree of hazard (hazard identification and dose-response characterization of adverse effects) and the extent of exposure (amount of contact).


The tool kit also includes:

  • A list of chemical management system/regulation key elements;
  • Suggestions on implementing a hazard communication system;
  • Identifying chemicals in commerce (inventory and periodic reporting);
  • Prioritization schemes;
  • National chemical inventories;
  • New substance notification requirements; and
  • Insights into industry’s role in promoting sound chemicals management.


Three examples of chemicals management systems:


Example A. Chemicals management in Canada

Canada has developed a risk-based system of evaluating and managing chemicals with implementation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), administered by Health Canada. The Act provides for the assessment and management of chemical substances to prevent, reduce or control environmental and human health impacts of:

  • new and existing substances (including products of biotechnology);
  • marine pollution;
  • emissions from vehicles, engines and equipment;
  • fuels;
  • hazardous wastes; and
  • environmental emergencies, including accidental spills.


Health Canada evaluates chemicals against criteria in Section 64 of CEPA, defining “toxic” as chemicals that enter or could enter the environment that:

  • have or may have a harmful effect on the environment;
  • are or could be dangerous to the environment that life depends on; or
  • are or could be dangerous to human life or health.


Health Canada maintains a List of Toxic Substances, consisting of evaluated chemicals. When listing, Health Canada publishes environment and human health objectives that serve as benchmarks for risk mitigation. These may include quantitative limits or general public health goals.

When proposing a listing on the List of Toxic Substances, Health Canada also proposes a risk management scope providing preliminary issues for management strategies, while accepting comment on both the proposed listing and risk mitigation strategy. Stakeholders have additional opportunities to comment as Health Canada continues to develop risk mitigation. This may include proposed regulations, pollution prevention programs, release guidelines, codes of practice or management practices in a Significant New Activity Notice (SNAN). Health Canada may also select risk management options under other statutes such as the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Pest Control Products Act or the Food and Drugs Act.


Example B. Chemicals management in Europe

REACH is the EU chemicals regulation (EC 1907/2006) establishing requirements for registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals. It entered into force on 1 June 2007.



REACH requires manufacturers and importers to register substances with ECHA prior to manufacture and import of substances in amounts of 1 tonne or more per year. REACH follows the “one substance, one registration” principle. Under this principle, a consortium of manufacturers and importers support a lead registrant to assure ECHA receives all necessary information to register a chemical and receives payment of the associated registration fee. Registration requires standardized data sets. Data varies by tonnage of manufacture and import, as specified by tonnage bans. A consortium must submit hazard properties, intrinsic properties, risk mitigation methods, etc.

The registration obligation includes registration of individual substances contained in mixtures, isolated intermediates and substances in articles intended for release.



REACH authorizes ECHA and its scientific committees to evaluate submitted information to determine an appropriate regulatory approach. Evaluation process addresses three issues:

  • Evaluation of proposed testing submitted by registrants.
  • Compliance checks of dossiers submitted by registrants.
  • Evaluation of substances.

ECHA uses a combination of hazard and exposure related information to priorities chemicals for evaluation by listing on the Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP), which is updated annually. The selection criteria includes hazard information: potential persistency, bioaccumulation and toxicity (PBT), endocrine disruption, or carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and toxicity to reproduction (CMR)). ECHA also considers exposure information including exposure potential based on uses, and total registered volumes and Member States can also submit proposals for substances of interest to be evaluated.

Whilst evaluation of these substances is distributed throughout the EU, with different Member states conducting the evaluation of an assigned chemical, there are concerns surrounding the ability to evaluate broad data sets of substances, with some Member States having greater capacity than others.

Upon publication of the annual CoRAP, a Member State has one year to conduct a preliminary evaluation and publish a draft decision, seeking additional information as necessary. Evaluation process takes up to three years.

A Member State can propose one of four options as an outcome of evaluation:

  • A proposal for harmonized classification and labelling for carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction, respiratory sensitizer or other effects.
  • A proposal to identify the substance as a substance of very high concern (SVHC).
  • A proposal to restrict the substance.
  • Actions outside the scope of REACH such as a proposal for EU-wide occupational exposure limits, national measures, or voluntary industry actions.


Authorization and Restriction

REACH provides a framework for restriction of chemicals with authorized use, with initiation of the authorization process initiated by listing as a “Substances of Very High Concern” or an SVHC. SVHCs are listed in Annex XV, known as the candidate list for authorization. After listing on Annex XV, ECHA further considers risks associated with use and if necessary, will require an authorization for use. Chemicals requiring authorization are then moved from Annex XV to Annex XIV, the authorization list. Another relevant list is in Annex XVII, listing certain chemicals that are restricted for manufacture or use.

The process for listing on the Annex XV list of SVHCs (candidates for authorization) begins when a member state or ECHA proposes listing, based on a chemical’s hazards. ECHA will accept comments on the proposal for a 45-day period. REACH defines SVHCs as having one or more of the following hazard characteristics:

  • Substances meeting the criteria for classification as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR) category 1A or 1B in accordance with the CLP Regulation.
  • Substances which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) according to REACH Annex XIII.
  • Substances on a case-by-case basis, that cause an equivalent level of concern as CMR or PBT/vPvB substances.


Listing on the Annex XV candidate list for authorization triggers the following requirements:

  • supplying a safety data sheet
  • communicating instructions about safe use
  • responding to consumer requests within 45 days and
  • notifying ECHA if the article they produce contains an SVHC in quantities above one tonne per producer/importer per year and if the substance is present in those articles above a concentration of 0.1% (w/w).

For additional details regarding REACH generally and process and requirements for registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction, see the ECHA website at:


Example C. Chemicals management in the United States

The U.S. legislature substantially updated the framework for chemicals management with the Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA amendments took effect in June 2016, implementing changes around three basic issues: 1) Updating the inventory of chemicals active in commerce; 2) Providing a framework to conduct risk evaluations of chemicals on the TSCA inventory; and 3) Requiring evaluation of any new chemicals prior to allowing commercialization.


The TSCA Inventory

U.S. EPA lists chemicals approved for commercialization on the TSCA Inventory. Although listed chemicals are generally approved for manufacture, import and some level of use, EPA may restrict handling and use of any listed chemical with a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), a consent order with the manufacturer or other regulatory measures. State legislation may also restrict any given chemical. At a broader level, EPA would like to group chemicals on the TSCA Inventory to inform the risk evaluation process. EPA has not yet taken definite steps towards this goal, but it has published a policy document describing a general approach.

As required by the 2016 amendments to TSCA, EPA required manufacturers and importers to notify EPA of chemicals that are or have been active in commerce over the 10-year period prior to the rule. Based on this initial reporting and subsequent notifications, EPA updates the TSCA Inventory every six months. The inventory of active chemicals lists around 42,000 chemicals. It is available online at:

To encourage transparency and public access to information, TSCA amendments require EPA to make common chemical names as listed on the TSCA inventory available to the public. Prior to the TSCA amendments, EPA would list chemicals while keeping chemical names and other identifying information confidential when requested by a manufacturer. The amendments still allow for confidentiality of chemical identity, where substantiated by the manufacturer.

As part of revisions to the TSCA Inventory, EPA collected substantiating data for claims of confidentiality from manufacturers and is currently reviewing data. Reviews will result in disclosure of some identities within five years. Data required to substantiate claims of confidentiality are provided in Section 14 of TSCA and include measures a company has taken to protect identity, including information describing how a confidential chemical cannot be reverse engineered.


Risk Evaluations Under TSCA

 Under the 2016 amendments, EPA is required to have at least 20 ongoing risk evaluations of chemicals listed on the inventory, at any given time. Companies can also request an evaluation. EPA must ensure that 25-50% of its risk evaluations are based on a manufacturer’s request. Once a chemical is selected as a “high priority chemical” for evaluation, through a prioritization process, EPA initiates a 3-year risk evaluation by publishing a draft scope, open to a 45-day comment period. The designation as “high priority” is not a statement of risk. Rather it merely determines EPA is giving priority to evaluating the chemical.

The scoping document includes a set of “conditions of use” that define the scope of a risk evaluation. “Condition of use” is a defined term commonly used in TSCA and indicates considerations associated with a chemical at any stage of its life cycle. EPA typically defines a range of industrial, commercial and consumer uses of a chemical within scope. EPA considers legacy uses and effects on the general population. EPA’s methods and understanding of these issues continues to evolve. EPA must also consider potentially exposed and susceptible subpopulations including workers.

EPA conducts its risk evaluation for 3 years, with two public comment periods. EPA allows 45 days for comment on the draft scope. It then proceeds with data collection and evaluation for about two years, resulting in a draft risk evaluation. Stakeholders then have 60 days to comment on the draft evaluation. Once evaluation is finalized, EPA initiates a two-year process to finalize a risk mitigation rule.

The goal of the risk evaluation is to reach a determination of “unreasonable risk” or “no unreasonable risk.” Currently, EPA makes this determination for the chemical in its entirety. With the first set of risk evaluations, EPA tried a different approach. EPA would make a separate risk determination for each condition of use. With the current approach, EPA delays a determination on conditions of use to the risk mitigation phase, although it will review associated risk during risk evaluation. The process is controversial as it is unclear how and when EPA will consider typical workplace practices, PPE, and other risk mitigation practices.

The TSCA amendments also do not require industry data submission. Data submission is largely voluntary, although EPA has authority to require data submission by rule. It is in industry’s interest to provide EPA with any data relevant to a condition of use. Since the scope of evaluations encompass a variety of uses, data quality and specificity remain an important issue. EPA is considering approaches to require manufacturer data submission. The paint and coatings industry remains concerned about accuracy of data related to formulating products and downstream uses.

EPA provides additional information about the risk evaluation process with information about ongoing evaluations online at:


New Chemical Review

Prior to manufacture and import of any chemical not listed on the TSCA Inventory, EPA must approve the chemical and mitigate any risk from prescribed uses and “reasonably foreseen uses.” The review process begins with a manufacturer or importer filing a Pre-Manufacture Notice (PMN). Upon review, EPA will issue a finding of “no unreasonable risk” with prescribed control measures. EPA also can issue findings that:

  • information is insufficient;
  • may present an unreasonable risk, pending development of additional information; or
  • the chemical either enters or may enter the environment in substantial quantities or there is or may be significant or substantial exposure due to substantial quantities of production.

EPA also has the option to issue a finding that the chemical presents an unreasonable risk. To date, EPA has not issued such a finding.

By statute, EPA is required to complete PMN review within 90 days. However, EPA rarely, if ever, meets this deadline. Delays of six months to over a year are common, leading to some companies withdrawing PMNs and delaying or cancelling introduction of products in the U.S. Further, the data requirements for the PMN process are determined on a case-by-case basis, through meetings with EPA. EPA is required under TSCA to review “reasonably foreseen uses” in addition to uses identified by the PMN submitter. EPA identifies potential future uses by reviewing patents, chemical analogs, and other sources.

Upon concluding review, EPA has a policy of issuing a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for most chemicals. EPA has the option of also issuing a consent order binding the PMN submitter to control measures. Since review includes uses outside of those contemplated by the PMN submitter, EPA typically issues SNURs as a general rule binding all manufacturers and importers, while often affecting downstream users also. SNURs can impose a variety of restrictions including PPE, restrictions on discharge and emissions, hazard communication requirements, use restrictions, etc.

SNUR requirements provide additional measures to those required by other regulatory programs. Companies must implement and document compliance with SNURs in addition to overlapping controls prescribed in other regulatory programs. Companies that plan on varying from the SNUR in handling or using a chemical must notify EPA at least 90 days prior and obtain EPA’s approval.

EPA provides additional information about its new chemical review program at:


Policy Concerns

The World Coatings Council recommends that the ICCA toolkit be considered when designing and improving national chemical management systems.  Leveraging international risk-based best practices promotes the safe use of chemicals as well facilitates international trade through harmonization.


Restriction of Substances





Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a broad class of chemicals. This diverse family of important chemical substances are used across a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, energy, automotive, healthcare, construction, telecommunications, textiles electronics and first responder services. Beneficial products enabled by PFAS technologies include semiconductors, solar panels, high performance electronics, medical devices and garments, and fuel-efficient automobiles, and fluorinated firefighting foams used to suppress chemical fires.


Policy Concerns

The World Coatings Council supports a committed partnership between the coatings industry and key stakeholders to seek pragmatic and effective solutions to PFAS challenges. Such regulation is important to all stakeholders and should be based on the following principles:

  • Regulation Should Be Based on Sound Science. Any regulatory action addressing PFAS chemistries should be based on sound, peer-reviewed science and a transparent, well-informed record. Agencies should identify sources of uncertainty and the research needed to reduce those uncertainties, and regulations should remain flexible to accommodate emerging science.


  • Specific PFASs Should be Regulated Based on Risk to Human Health and the Environment. A risk-based approach focuses resources on the highest priorities based on the environmental, health, and safety risk of particular chemistries, not just the mere presence or persistence of a substance.  Chemistries of low concern should be treated accordingly.


  • Regulatory Outcomes Should Not be Predetermined. Regulatory decisions should be made using existing regulatory frameworks within a formal rule making construct, which includes notice and comment, to ensure that all stakeholders are provided an opportunity to comment, and relevant public policy goals are considered.


  • PFAS Chemistries Should Be Regulated Independently, Not as a Single Group. PFAS chemistries have a wide variety of  properties and uses. Due to this variation, it is inappropriate to regulate all PFAS chemistries as a single group and broadly restrict PFAS chemistries through wide-reaching bans. Instead, each individual chemistry or “well defined” small groups of chemistries should be regulated based on the specific risks posed, not on broad similarities/chemical properties.  Risks associated with one member of the PFAS class should not be attributed to other members of the PFAS class without clear scientific justification. Suitable substitutes for critical-use applications should be identified prior to instituting regulatory restrictions. Wherever possible, the national governments should strive to minimize multi-jurisdictional solutions and develop nationwide standards that limit regulatory uncertainty, reduce confusion, and improve cleanup outcomes for stakeholders and the public.


  • Risk Communication and Regulatory Transparency Are Important. Agencies should ensure that the public can easily understand the actual risks associated with specific PFAS chemicals. This includes candid discussions regarding the processes associated with evaluating those chemicals as well as any scientific uncertainties in those analyses.


  • Regular Consultation With Stakeholders. Since PFAS regulation affects many parties, efforts to address PFAS should include regular consultation with all relevant governmental organizations and the business community prior to regulatory decisions.

The World Coatings Council remains committed to support efforts to achieve safe use of chemicals based on these principles.


B. Biocides



The term “biocides” encompasses a wide range of materials that control the growth of unwanted, deleterious microorganisms in the environment.  The paint and coatings industry acknowledges the need to maintain proper safeguards when using biocides and has a long history of effective collaboration with government to protect public health and the environment and ensure effective policies for biocide use that support their continued availability.  The participants in this effort include the companies that make biocides, paint manufacturers – who add biocides to their products; users of paints containing biocides – who have come to expect the efficacy of these products to protect the painted surface and maintain desired conditions; and the government agencies charged with protecting public health and the environment – who provide oversight and continued scrutiny of the safety and effectiveness of biocidal product use in paints and coatings.

Microbial attack (i.e., mold and mildew) on painted surfaces is a wide-ranging and universal concern that has resulted in a global, coordinated strategy to combat it.  The impact of microbial growth is not limited to degradation of applied paint films, but also occurs during production and storage of paints and coatings.  Increasingly, paint products have embraced waterborne technology, using formulations that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  As with most waterborne products, paints require the use of “in-can” preservatives to protect them from spoilage. In extreme cases, the microbial decomposition can generate gases that rupture the container.

The importance of the biocides used for in-can preservation and to prevent dry-film microbial attacks cannot be understated.  Over the past 75 years, market growth and public acceptance of waterborne paints and coatings has only been possible with the use of biocides.  The effort to protect waterborne paints from microbial growth has resulted in enhanced plant hygiene and work practice controls that ensure product integrity throughout the supply chain.  These efforts are part of a holistic approach to microbial control that ensures protection and optimizes the use of biocides, only using as much as needed to maintain a high level of efficacy.

Specialized uses of biocides in certain paints and coatings are critical to protect the substrates to which they are applied.  Wood preservative materials are used to suspend the growth of microorganisms and other lifeforms that are associated with the destruction of wood and wood structures. Marine and offshore protective coatings are used to reduce the growth of marine microorganism and associated biofilms that degrade vessels and steel structures and slow their propulsion through the water.  Both uses are highly regulated and face increased, stringent regulatory controls despite the significant contributions of biocides to sustainability efforts in every sector.  End users, paint manufacturers, and biocide producers work closely with government agencies to advance consumer protection and reinforce safe use of biocides in paints and coatings.


Policy Concerns

The WCC believes that certain elements should be present in any biocide regulatory  framework. For example, biocide registration as well as the definition and consideration for treated articles are concepts generally present in regulations around the world.  The World Coatings Council recommends current and emerging regulations strive to offer a harmonized basis for promoting the essential and safe use of biocides in support of increasingly sophisticated, high-performing waterborne paint and coatings technologies as well as international trade.


C. Lead in Paint

The World Coatings Council is a contributing member of the Lead Paint Alliance (LPA, formerly the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint), an organization established under the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since its inception in 2010, and with its reorganization in 2015, the LPA has been working to engage national governments, industry and non-governmental organizations in establishing restrictions on lead use in paints that pose public health and environmental risks, especially to children.

In 2019, the World Coatings Council reaffirmed its 2009 policy statement and updated it to reflect new global developments by the LPA:

“WCC notes the long-standing effectiveness of lead-use restrictions that are already in place in many jurisdictions around the world and recommends their widespread adoption by authorities not currently regulating the use of lead in paint and printing ink. To this end, IPPIC supports the UN’s Lead Paint Alliance “Model Law”, as a useful starting point for both government and industry to collaborate on developing restrictions that ensure widespread and verifiable compliance.”

The World Coatings Council and its members are encouraged by the continued advancement of LPA objectives, aided by the publication of the UN Model Law, detailed documentation of current effective restrictions, as well as a useful “toolkit” to help policymakers increase awareness and advance required restrictions.

As the LPA continues its efforts to address lead use in paint and coatings, the World Coatings Council also anticipates working with other LPA partners to assist in industry implementation efforts to ensure widespread and verifiable compliance.


Elements of the Model Law:  A Reasonable Lead Standard

Lead is ubiquitous in nature.  As many raw materials for paint come from the earth, it is unlikely that paint formulas can be completely lead-free.  However, with careful and selective raw material sourcing, manufacturers can formulate paint at very low levels and in conformity with the 90 ppm the limit espoused in the UN Model Law.  Paint and coatings that have specialized uses or enhanced performance characteristics may find it more difficult to meet the 90 ppm limit.  These products are typically “Industrial” or “Specialty” coatings that are not intended for consumer use. Anti -fouling marine coatings are a good example.  These coating systems are applied to ships and offshore structures in both sea and fresh water environments to protect the structure from deterioration.  Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) is the active ingredient in the majority of anti-fouling coatings available on the market today. Cuprous oxide is produced from recycled scrap copper that often contains lead (from solder).  The World Coatings Council, through its Antifouling Coatings Committee, developed the following advocacy statement that addresses this issue:

Marine anti-fouling coatings are widely used to keep ship hulls free from fouling organisms, such as barnacles, algae, or mollusks. This prevents excessive drag on the hull allowing ships to maintain efficiency and consume less fuel while in motion. (See: International Maritime Organization (IMO) Anti-Fouling Systems). The growth of such organisms also allows the spread of invasive species into sensitive marine ecosystems. (See: IMO Biofouling)

Anti-fouling coatings use a number of soluble pigments, usually minerals and metals to control the properties of the coating. These raw materials are supplied to manufacturers and may contain traces of other substances, such as lead.

Lead should not intentionally be used in marine anti-fouling coatings. Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) is used as an active ingredient in the majority of anti-fouling coatings available on the market today. Cuprous oxide is produced from recycled scrap copper that often contains lead (from solder).  While the industry is working to develop effective coatings with lower lead levels, these are not widely available.  Thus, the level of lead in recycled scrap copper suggests that copper-based marine anti-fouling coatings would not be able to consistently meet a 90 ppm lead limit at this time.

One example of a marine coatings limit is 600 ppm total lead (See “Performance Specification: Paint System, Anticorrosive and Antifouling, Ship Hull”, U.S. Department of Defense, April 9, 2013). In addition, the European Union (EU) evaluated and approved a limit of 1200 ppm residual lead contamination in cuprous oxide which often comprises less than 50% by weight in marine antifouling coatings, generally resulting in less than 600 ppm lead in the marine anti-fouling coating.

This statement was accepted and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Lead Paint Alliance. It is available on the UNEP website under “Answers to Questions about Lead Paint and Lead Paint Laws (FAQs).”


Element of the Model Law:  Reasonable Testing Protocols

The Model Law includes sample text for the following tools to promote compliance:

  1. Requiring manufacturers and importers to have paint tested for lead content by third-party accredited laboratories using internationally recognized test methods;
  2. Requiring manufacturers and importers to provide a declaration of conformity based on such testing;
  3. Identifying the government agency with enforcement authority, enumerate enforcement responsibilities, including authorizing government inspections, testing, and seizure, and
  4. Making certain activities “prohibited acts” subject to penalties.


Element of the Model Law:  Reasonable Conformity Assessment

The Model Law includes sample text for use in declarations of conformity to document compliance with a lead paint law.  These provisions require manufacturers and importers to provide a declaration that their paints comply with the limit on lead in paint to distributors, retailers, and upon request, to governments.


Policy Concerns

The World Coatings Council supports current efforts of the LPA to assist in the expansion of the number of regions or countries in restricting lead use in paint by virtue of a universal, consistent model regulation.  The World Coatings Council contributes to the LPA by providing the industry’s expertise on technical issues raised by reformulation challenges.

While The World Coatings Council reaffirms its commitment to collaborate with LPA to support ongoing progress in the manufacture and use of paints and coatings that comply with applicable restrictions on the use of lead compounds and their implementation worldwide, reasonable requirements for compliance mechanisms should continue to be examined in order to ensure compliance without unnecessary burdens on industry.

For more information on the LPA and efforts to seek restrictions on decorative paints see:


D. UV 328



In May 2020, Switzerland submitted a proposal to list UV-328 in Annex A of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s). Listing would initiate a global phase-out of UV-328 and possibly other UV filters commonly used by the paint and coatings industry. The European Union also recently listed UV-328 as a Substance of Very High Concern for its PBT/vPvB properties and added UV-328 to Annex XIV of REACH. Listing criteria in the EU varies from criteria under the Stockholm Convention.

The World Coatings Council is sensitive to the fact that UV-328 is a common additive in automotive paint, industrial coatings, and other coatings products, added for its unique ability to absorb the full spectrum of UV light in a fully reversible and non-destructive process. It is therefore used as a UV absorber to protect various surfaces against discoloration and weathering under UV/sunlight. As manufacturers have not identified viable substitutes, phase-out of UV-328 could have a severe impact on several paint and coatings products.

Several countries questioned the strength of Switzerland’s proposal due to speculative conclusions related to UV-328’s ability to bioaccumulate and transport globally (i.e. the long-range transport criteria).

At its sixteenth meeting in January 2021, the POP’s Review Committee concluded that UV-328 met the listing criteria in Annex D of the convention. Prior to the sixteenth meeting of the POP’s Review Committee, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) raised concerns that UV-328 does not meet Annex D criteria for long range transport (LRT).  The LRT element is designed to evaluate a chemical’s inherent properties that allowed it to travel in the environment. In its comment on the proposal to list, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) explains,

“The dossier notes that UV-328 has been found to be transported with, and subsequently, released from plastic debris, and that the transport with plastic matrices is long-range and transfers UV-328 to remote locations in direct connection with plastic particles. However, the argument that microplastics can be a method of LRT to fulfil the Annex D criteria is a novel hypothesis that warrants significant further discussion and examination by the POPRC, as well as consultation with additional experts.”

ACC further challenges the assumption that UV-328 is transported by aerosolized particles in the air and suspended solids in water.


Policy Concerns

The World Coatings Council is concerned about the negative implications associated with the restriction of a chemical without sufficient scientific supporting evidence and the presidential impact of a governmental decision with sufficient scientific basis.


E. European Union (EU) Classification of Titanium Dioxide as a Carcinogen



In February 2020, the European Commission codified its adoption of the 14th Adaptation to [1]Technical Progress (ATP) concerning titanium dioxide (TiO2), which classified TiO2 containing greater than 1% respirable dust content as a suspected carcinogen by inhalation (Category 2).

As a result of the adopted classification, products exported or sold in the EU containing TiO2 may require new warnings on labels and safety data sheets.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) also published its guide on the classification and labelling of TiO₂. However, the guide does not address the methodology to determine the content of particles with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 μm which is key to evaluate if a substance or mixture is classified.

TDMA has published various guidance for interested stakeholders, the most recent dated September 10, 2021. TDMA has conducted analytical testing of TiO2 particle size to determine the content of particles with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 μm which is key to determine their respirable nature, and hence, the applicability of the new hazard classification.

TDMA recommends the following methods: EN 15051-2 Measurement of the dustiness of bulk materials;  the continuous drop method (EN15051-3); and DIN 55992-1 and the European Commission concluded that these tests are fit for purpose.


Policy Concerns

The proposed classification is not grounded in sound science and has the potential to result in a significant impact on international trade since products containing TiO2 manufactured for import to the EU will be subject to notification requirements under REACH and CLP.

The EU’s decision on TiO2 classification risks being presidential for other widely used poorly soluble particles (PSPs). Thus, international trade in other important substances might also be impacted through restrictions and bans.

In May 2020, The Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) member companies as a part of a wider group of TiO₂ producers and users commenced an action in the General Court of the European Union seeking annulment of the classification.  In addition, the European Council of the Paint, Printing Ink and Artists‘ Colours Industry (CEPE), the British Coatings Federation (BCF) and the American Coatings Association intervened in the action under common counsel. Also, company members of the Verband der deutschen Lack- und Druckfarbenindustrie (VdL) filed individual claims against the classification. The basis for these actions is (1) a serious error in the calculation of inhalation exposure, (2) lack of reliable data suggesting that TiO2 causes cancer, (3) a breach of duty of care by the European Commission (i.e., inventing the concept of “particle toxicity” in a novel, broad interpretation of the Classification, Labeling and Packaging regulation), (4) breach of several principles of EU law including proportionality and right of interested parties, and (5) the creation of numerous legal uncertainties for both products and waste.    The current expectation is that the General Court will not rule on the matter until the second half of 2022, which is unfortunately after the classification comes into force on October 1, 2021.




The paint and coatings industry has a long history providing products that protect, sustain, and add value to our infrastructure and the objects we depend on every day. The industry continues to embrace sustainable practices by reducing its environmental footprint, increasing resource recovery, and reducing and eliminating hazardous emissions. The industry continues to support efforts to conduct “life-cycle analyses” that evaluate all of the relevant environmental impacts and benefits of the products that work to preserve and protect the global infrastructure.  The industry also addresses its social responsibility by creating health and safety programs to protect the communities and workforce that manufacture and use its paints and coatings products.

The World Coatings Council is currently developing a World Coatings Council Sustainability Report. A materiality survey of WCC members and associated coatings manufacturing companies as well as interviews of WCC members, associated coatings manufacturing companies, and key external industry stakeholders will be included. The final report containing key sustainability performance indicators and case studies will be complete in mid-2022. The report seeks to highlight ongoing efforts and contributions to sustainability  from the coatings industry aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The report will also provide a harmonized set of building blocks to structure and communicate sustainability efforts wherever they emerge.


Policy Concerns

The World Coatings Council believes that sustainability programs should be developed and implemented by individual associations in a manner that allows for consistency and harmonization across the globe. National or regional paint and printing inks associations are the appropriate organizations to facilitate and help enhance sustainability programs on behalf of the members they support in their respective country or region. WCC believes it is essential that national associations create consistent messages and comparable metrics when implementing individual sustainability programs. By pursuing conformity, national associations will be able to compare best practices and indicators of performance ultimately allowing companies to be able reference consistent sustainability programs.



Transport of Dangerous Goods

To ensure consistency between regulatory systems throughout the world, the United Nations (UN) established a sub-committee dedicated to forming appropriate harmonization regulations for the transport of dangerous goods. This harmonization occurs in the UN Sub-Committee of Experts (SCE) on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG). The UN SCE TDG considers proposed changes to the UN Model Regulations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods, which is used by many countries as the basis of the country’s TDG regulations. The UN Model Regulation for the Transport of Dangerous Goods is currently in the 22nd Revision (2021).

The UN SCE TDG meets twice per year in Geneva, Switzerland, to consider proposals from governmental and non-governmental delegations that are developed to be incorporated into the model regulation.

In 2005, the World Coatings Council was granted non-governmental organization (NGO) status by the UN to attend and participate in the UN SCE TDG meetings. Since then, the World Coatings Council has been proactively engaged in UN efforts to harmonize the model regulation to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness for cross-border and multi-modal shipments of paint and allied products. At the UN SCE TDG meetings, the World Coatings Council submits proposals, records discussions, and advocates on behalf of the paint and coatings industry. Participation in the World Coatings Council’s delegation to the UN SCE TDG is open to those participating companies or country trade associations of the Council.

Globally Harmonized System

In the 1990s, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe embarked on a journey to design a universal chemical classification system for the entire world.  It was believed that a universal chemical classification system would help to decrease the number of accidents in the workplace and home environments resulting from improper use of chemical products.  It was also believed that a universal chemical classification system would decrease the cost of doing business around the world because in theory one label could be used for the same product sold in many different countries. The development and maintenance of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) was formally commissioned by the United Nations and assigned to the Subcommittee of Experts on the GHS (UNSCEGHS).

As noted above, the reasons for setting the objective of harmonization were many.  The UNSCEGHS operates with the goal that, when fully implemented, the GHS will:

  • Enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an internationally comprehensible system for hazard communication;
  • Provide a recognized framework for those countries without an existing system;
  • Reduce the need for testing and evaluation of chemicals; and
  • Facilitate international trade in chemicals whose hazards have been properly assessed and identified on an international basis.

The World Coatings Council sends representatives to the UNSCEGHS Meetings held twice annually in Geneva, Switzerland. At these meetings, the council’s representatives meet the environmental, health, and safety representatives from member countries who work on each revision of the GHS.  The council can submit white papers to support its member associations’ viewpoints on certain technical issues before the UNSCEGHS.  Input from council representatives has been well-received by the UNSCEGHS.

For more information:

Air Quality

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)



The coatings industry has actively worked to significantly reduce the VOC content associated with its products by creating advanced chemistries now used in paints and coatings to protect human health and the environment. Implementation of rules with lower VOC limits, and increased consumer demand for low-VOC coatings have reduced coating VOC emissions as well. Of concern, however, is that lower VOC limits can result in possible loss of coatings performance and durability as well as product freezing during storage and transportation. Consequently, the industry works to convince regulators that adoption of more reasonable VOC content limits are necessary to achieve the desired balance of maximum coating performance with a minimum of environmental impact.

The World Coatings Council stands ready to inform national efforts to impose coating VOC regulations in an attempt to lower atmospheric ozone. The United States National Architectural and Industrial Maintenance (AIM) VOC regulations date back to the 1998 (US National AIM RuleUS National AIM Rule), and Europe (Paints DirectivePaints Directive) finalized its regulatory scheme in 2004. These technical regulations are often used as benchmarks in the development of national VOC limits for paints and coatings.


Policy Concerns

The World Coatings Council recommends new VOC regulations should be as consistent as possible with US or European regulations in terms of definitions, coatings categories, labeling, testing, exemptions, and sell-through provisions that authorize the continued sale of products manufactured prior to finalization of new standards and already in the chain of distribution.  Formulating low VOC limits can be very challenging and costly for coatings manufacturers. Providing adequate time to reformulate, adjust inventories, and change computer tracking systems as well as adequate time to inform customers and distributors is very important.

In addition, regulators should consider other sources of VOC emissions as well as Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) reductions, especially since NOx emission reductions may result in greater ozone reductions than VOC emission reductions.


Packaging, Plastics, Recycling



Increasingly, the fate of plastic materials is coming under scrutiny by government, environmental organizations, and academic researchers around the world.  This is due in large part to the widespread and highly visible problem of how to manage the large volume of discarded plastic containers and packaging products that end up in the waste stream.

These highly visible discarded materials in the environment are known as “macroplastic” waste.   Policymakers around the globe are struggling to apply waste management principles such as “reduce, re-use and recycle” to these materials when the market for these post-consumer materials either does not exist or is not robust enough to handle the volume of the waste stream.  Consequently, meaningful waste management discussions by diverse stakeholders are emerging.  “The circular economy” and “extended producer responsibility (EPR)” are dominant agenda items in those discussions.


Policy Concerns

The World Coatings Council is closely following the evolution of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation and regulations that seek to hold producers responsible for the collection and end-of-life management of products and their packaging, typically by establishing a “producer stewardship organization” or “producer responsibility organization.”  Stewardship programs to address post-consumer paint and their packaging were initially developed by the paint and coatings industry many years ago. These stewardship organizations are operated by the industry as independent, not-for profit companies such that their operation does not burden or interfere with the core business of manufacture and sale of paint while ensuring sound management of post-consumer paint and/or its packaging.





The World Coatings Council is closely following efforts of environmental researchers focusing on new categories of waste arising from use of a variety of plastic materials found in consumer and industrial products.   Public discussion is now moving on from the issue of ‘primary microplastics’, which are intentionally added to formulations, to ‘secondary microplastics’, which are formed through the degradation and break down of larger plastics into progressively smaller pieces.

”Secondary microplastics” can include releases of synthetic fibers from clothing weathering of macroplastic wastes, washing paint brushes in the sink, and the degradation of polymeric surfaces on exterior substrates. The various secondary microplastics are typically aggregated within wastewater streams, although some may become airborne.


Policy Concerns

All known mitigating factors need to be considered in any effort to quantify the potential release of microplastics from products.  This is especially true for academic researchers, government agencies, and advocacy groups as they work to address concerns regarding microplastics in the environment

In general, paint is a resinous product intended to provide a continuous protective or decorative film to a substrate, imparting desirable properties that last for a long time.  Extensive efforts are made to ensure economical transfer efficiency and to minimize loss of paint product to the environment during application and subsequent clean-up of application equipment (i.e., brushes and rollers that could emit excess paint as primary microplastics).

World Coatings Council Addresses Microplastics in Marine Environments

Post Consumer Paint Stewardship Programs

As much as 10% of all household latex and oil-based paint (post consumer paint) goes unused.

Management of this waste stream has proven to be difficult for consumers and expensive for local government agencies.

The paint and coatings industry has proactively responded to this challenge by developing stewardship programs to collect leftover consumer paint and manage the end-of-life of this waste stream.  These programs include Product Care in several Canadian provinces, PaintCare in the United States, and Paintback in Australia. These programs provide a system for the management of postconsumer architectural paint in an environmentally sound manner that includes collection, transportation, processing, recycling, and proper disposal.

Product Care – originally started in British Columbia in 1994, Product Care is now operating in eight Canadian provinces. Over 10.3 million liters (2.7 million gallons) of paint recovered in 2019. More information about Product Care is available online at:

PaintCare – launched in Oregon in 2009 and has been adopted in 11 additional jurisdictions in the United States. To date, PaintCare has collected over 48 million gallons of paint.  More information about PaintCare is available online at:

Paintback – started in 2016, is an industry led post consumer paint management program in Australia. In 2020, Paintback collected approximately 8,100 tonnes of paint and packaging, up from 6,300 tonnes in the previous year. More information about Paintback is available online at: