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VOC Regulation



About the VOC Regulation

Notification Letters to Importers and Manufacturers about the VOC Regulation

Controls and Requirements of the VOC Regulation

Advisory Notices for Regulated Control of VOC Products

More Information about the VOC Regulation

Sales and Use Reporting to the EPD by Importers and Manufacturers

Prior Notification to the EPD of Regulated Architectural Paints

Links to Relevant VOC Testing Methods

Other Useful Links


About the VOC Regulation

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are found in wide variety of everyday products such as solvent-based paints/coatings, adhesives, sealants, printing inks, many consumer products, organic solvents and petroleum products.  

VOCs Containing Products

VOC-containing products

The use of VOC-containing products will inadvertently release VOCs which cause air pollution and smog. To improve the air quality and achieve the 55% VOC reduction target to below 1997 level by 2010 under the joint regional air quality management plan with Guangdong, the Government has implemented a series of various control measures. One of these measures is to control VOC emissions from regulated products by implementation of the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation (the VOC Regulation) to prohibit import into Hong Kong and manufacture in Hong Kong regulated products with VOC contents exceeding the prescribed limits set out in the VOC Regulation.

The VOC Regulation controls the VOC contents of architectural paints/coatings, printing inks and six selected categories of consumer products (air fresheners, hairsprays, multi-purpose lubricants, floor wax strippers, insecticides and insect repellents) in phases starting from 1 April 2007.  This regulation was amended in October 2009 to extend the control in phases starting from 1 January 2010 to other high VOC-containing products, namely vehicle refinishing paints/coatings, vessel and pleasure craft paints/coatings, adhesives and sealants.  The control would put Hong Kong in a leading position in the region to limit the VOC contents of selected products, which is similar to the control adopted in California of the United States. It is expected that the VOC Regulation, when fully implemented, would help reduce about 8,700 tonnes of VOC emission a year.

Notification Letters to Importers and Manufacturers about the VOC Regulation

To inform the importers and manufacturers about the implementation of the VOC Regulation, the EPD has sent a notification to the concerned importers and manufacturers. If you have not received it, you may click the below links for the notification letters to understand how the VOC Regulation affects you.

Notitication Letter of 16 March 2007  

Notification Letter of 9 November 2009

Notification Letter of 20 August 2010

Notification Letter of 30 June 2011

Controls and Requirements of the VOC Regulation

The VOC Regulation:

(a) sets limits on the VOC content of 51 types of architectural paints/coatings, 7 types of printing inks, 6 broad categories of consumer products, 14 types of vehicle refinishing paints/coatings, 36 types of vessel and pleasure craft paints/coatings, and 47 types of adhesives and sealants. No person shall import into or manufacture in Hong Kong for local sale or use any regulated products containing VOCs in excess of the prescribed limits in the regulation.  Please check the following links for details of the prescribed VOC content limits:

VOC content limits for regulated architectural paints
VOC content limits for regulated printing inks
VOC content limits for regulated consumer products
VOC content limits for regulated vehicle refinishing paints
VOC content limits for regulated vessel paints and regulated pleasure craft paints
VOC content limits for regulated adhesives and sealants

(b)  requires annual reporting by 31 March of the year of sales amount for these regulated products imported or manufactured in Hong Kong after the relevant effective dates of the prescribed VOC content limits, for the previous calendar year, starting in the year following the respective prescribed limits become effective.

(c) requires proper labelling for regulated architectural paints not meeting their future prescribed VOC limits, and product information display and notification for regulated architectural paints prior to the sale or use of the paints from 1 April 2007 onwards.

(d) requires displaying product information in Material Safety Data Sheets, trade catalogues, packaging or containers for all the regulated products except regulated printing inks and regulated consumer products.

(e) requires installation of emission control devices for all lithographic heatset web printing machines to limit VOCs in the waste gases to no more than 100 mg Carbon/m3 (without dilution, at reference conditions of 0oC and 101.325 kPa) from 1 January 2009 onwards.

More Information about the VOC Regulation

You may view details of the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation at Bilingual Law Information System by searching for CAP 311W under 'Chapter 311, Air Pollution Control Ordinance'.  Also, you may refer to A Guide to the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation for guidance on the VOC Regulation . 

For further information, please contact us at:

Environmental Protection Department
Territorial Control Office
24/F, Southorn Centre
130 Hennessy Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Enquiry Hotline: 2838 3111   Fax: 2838 3111  Email: enquiry@epd.gov.hk

Sales and Use Reporting to the EPD by Importers and Manufacturers

By 31 March of each year, importers or manufacturers shall submit to the EPD a report with the sales amount and specific information of the regulated products imported or manufactured in Hong Kong after the relevant effective dates of the prescribed VOC content limits for the previous calendar year (1 January to 31 December), starting in the year following the respective prescribed limits in the VOC Regulation become effective.   For the purpose of submission, please use the Sales and Use Reporting Form (revised on 12 April 2010) at this link or this link. Guidance notes (revised on 12 April 2010) for completing and submitting the Form can be found at this link.

Prior Notification to the EPD of Regulated Architectural Paints

With effect from 1 April 2007, importers or manufacturers of regulated architectural paints shall notify the EPD of the particulars of any imported or locally manufactured regulated architectural paints prior to the sale or use in Hong Kong. For the purpose of submission, please use the Notification Form (revised on 18 December 2009) at this link or this link. Guidance notes (revised on 18 December 2009) for completing and submitting the Form can be found at this link.

Links to Relevant VOC Testing Methods

USEPA Test Methods

South Coast Air Quality Management District Method 303 & Method 316A

California Air Resources Board Method 310

ASTM Methods

NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods

Other Useful Links

Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

California Air Resources Board

 

 

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Last Revision Date : 24 April 2012