FTC Announces Updated Guidelines for VOC-Free-Claims

Last week, after announcing a long anticipated settlement with PPG and Sherwin-Williams, the FTC released a new enforcement policy regarding VOC-free claims for all architectural coatings.

The Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, also known as “Green Guides“, is aimed at helping advertisers avoid making unfair or deceptive claims under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”).

Specifically, manufacturers and retailers must follow three main points with regard to free-of or does-not contain claims, which may be appropriate even for a product, package, or service that contains or uses trace amount of a substance if:

  1. the level of the specified substance is no more than that which would be found as an acknowledged trace contaminant or background level;
  2. the substance’s presence does not cause material harm that consumers typically associate with that substance; and
  3. the substance has not been added intentionally to the product. 16 C.F.R. § 260.9(c) (hereinafter “trace amount test”)

The orders “prohibit the companies from claiming that their paints, Sherwin-Williams’ Dutch Boy Refresh and PPG’s Pure Performance interior paints, contain ‘zero VOCs,’ unless, after tinting, they have a VOC level of zero grams per liter, or the companies have competent and reliable scientific evidence that the paint contains no more than trace levels of VOCs,” according to the FTC.

The fact of the matter is that different colorants have varying amounts of VOCs, depending what the consumer chooses, and this regulation seems to be a step in educating consumers about that issue.

EonCoat has zero VOCs when used on its own, which is normally the case for industrial corrosion resistance where aesthetics are not a driving factor. Where EonCoat needs to be colored we add powdered oxides designed for ceramics, which also have no VOC’s, making EonCoat a truly VOC free coating.