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Bodyshops shake as EC proposes VOC rule changes

Proposals announced by the European Commission could force all bodyshops to meet the same stringent controls on low VOC paints, spelling the end for many smaller businesses.

The new proposals set maximum values for VOC (volatile organic compounds) of refinishing paints and is due to come into effect on January 1, 2007. They replace plans to exempt bodyshops using less than half a tonne of solvent a year (currently those under one tonne threshold are exempt), meaning that all accident repairers will have access only to low VOC products.

Paint companies will only be allowed to supply compliant coatings – many smaller bodyshops will have to upgrade spraybooths and invest in infra red drying equipment in order to handle these products. However, analysts question where they will find the funds to make the investment.

“If the new proposals sweep away the cost and bureaucracy of the Environmental Protection Act it will be a good thing, especially if all bodyshops fall under the net,” says industry analyst Robert Hadfield. “It will cause a shake up, although smaller bodyshops will struggle to bring their facilities up to scratch.”

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