No.64: The Future of Paints and Coatings 

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7 Practical Guidelines for Paint Workers 

Article 7: Safe Work Practices (1): The Future of Paints and Coatings 

Protecting Safety at Work (1) Automotive Industry Initiatives and Hazard Information in SDS 

The primary challenges in painting and coating lie in preventing air pollution and global warming. To achieve this goal, it is crucial to reduce the emissions of both VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) and CO2, which are major contributors to environmental burden. Specifically, CO2 emissions result from the use of painting booths, drying processes, and the combustion of fossil fuels in curing ovens. For instance, switching from solvent-based paints to water-based types is effective in reducing VOCs. However, this also introduces new challenges such as the need for hot air during the temperature and humidity control in painting and the forced evaporation of water in the Flash off process, which increases CO2 emissions due to energy consumption. 

What measures can we take to prevent air pollution and global warming? 

1. Initiatives in the Automotive Industry for Environmental Challenges 

In industrial painting, the pursuit of high quality and cost performance is essential. However, addressing environmental issues requires efforts across various areas, including soil, water quality, and air pollution. This means that the automotive industry, a major user of paint, must take leadership in resolving these challenges due to its significant role in reducing environmental impacts. From the paint manufacturing perspective, it’s crucial to develop paints that reduce VOCs without compromising the finish quality and coating performance. 

Historically, the Japanese industrial sector has been promoting High Solid (HS) technology from the perspectives of coating physical properties and cost. This trend is accelerating globally. Specifically, the EU and Japan are primarily using water-based paints for base coating in new vehicle painting and are promoting the use of water-based metallic paints for top coating. 

2. The Importance of Paint Regulations and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) 

From an environmental protection standpoint, paint regulations cover a wide range. In 2012, the global standard SDS (Safety Data Sheets) for chemical products was established. This mandates the disclosure of ingredients contained at 1% or more (or 0.1% for specified hazardous chemicals) and their mixture ratios, along with the hazards and safe handling information of each component. 

The SDS consists of 16 sections, with “2. Hazard Identification” and “3. Composition/information on ingredients” being particularly important for painting personnel. These sections provide crucial information for identifying the dangers and hazards of chemical products, aiming to prevent occupational health and safety incidents. Consequently, “2. Hazard Identification” is represented with GHS labels, which are also affixed to the products. 

As a reference, Figure B shows examples of GHS labels affixed to solvent-based paints, water-based paints, and powder coatings. 

The automotive industry is transitioning to water-based paints and improving painting processes for VOC and CO2 reduction. The globalization of SDS standards emphasizes the importance of conveying safety information through GHS labels, prompting users to wear protective gear like gas masks, glasses, and gloves for safety. 


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