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Solvents: 'Don't wait for the EU deadline'

Standox has issued a wake-up call to bodyshops, urging the industry to switch from solvent-based paints to waterborne products well in advance of new European environmental legislation.

From January 1, 2007, paint manufacturers will not be permitted to produce or supply non-compliant refinish materials, but the company claims hundreds of UK repairers are unaware of the deadline and are running out of time to change systems and practices.

Larry Fernandes, technical manager at Standox UK, says the Government hasn't helped the situation by delaying draft regulations based on the EU emissions directive to create a single standard for vola-tile organic compound levels in refinish and decorative paint materials. The 2007 rule will override the existing UK PG6/34 solvents legislation introduced in 1992 to reduce VOC content in three stages.

“In many details the future law governing bodyshops is still unclear, such as which aspects will fall under the new regulations and which will still be controlled by PG6/34,” says Fernandes.

“But none of this changes the one, overriding fact that all EU governments are committed to removing non-compliant refinishing paint materials from sale by January 1, 2007. This is less than three-and-a-half years away – and it could be enforced even earlier in Britain. This will affect thousands of the generally smaller bodyshops.”

More than 60 per cent of Standox customers are already using compliant systems and won't need to make any changes, but Fernandes says there are plenty of repairer businesses that haven't even considered compliant alternatives, let alone tested them.

“There's nothing to fear from moving to waterborne. We have already shown waterborne base-coats are faster to apply and give lower materials usage – thousands of bodyshops are using the technology and have been since we introduced Standohyd in 1993,” he says. “Our advice to all bodyshops is not to wait for the deadline but to change now.”

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