CARB Consults Over VOC Emission Reductions in 21 Consumer Product Categories

CARB has public consultations on 21 of 47 consumer product categories to evaluate the feasibility of reducing VOC emissions.
( | Press Release | 2019-07-04 16:11:11 )
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced a list of 47 consumer product categories to undergo consideration in Public Work Group Meetings on whether reductions in volatile organic compounds (VIC) are feasible.

To date, 21 product categories have been reviewed. These include:
• Hair finishing spray
• No rinse shampoo/dry conditioner
• Dye, permanent
• Laundry detergent
• Liquid fabric softener
• Dish detergent/soap
• Aerosol cooking spray
• Air freshener
o Single phase aerosol
o Double phase aerosol
o Dual purpose/disinfectant
o Liquid/pump spray
o Solid/semisolid
• Bathroom & tile cleaner (aerosol)
• General purpose cleaner (non-aerosol)
• General purpose degreaser (non-aerosol)
• Glass cleaner (aerosol)
• Aerosol sunscreen
• Shampoo
• Conditioner without styling claims
• External analgesic
• Topical antifungal

In some cases, the products currently have VOC limits. For example, hair finishing spray can be made up of 55% VOC and general-purpose degreaser (non-aerosol) can be comprised of up to 0.5%. In many cases however, such as laundry detergents, dish detergents/soaps, shampoos and aerosol sunscreens, there are currently no limits.

A VOC is defined as any compound containing at least one atom of carbon. CARB is required to regulate consumer products as part of the California Clean Air Act. They must provide technologically and commercially feasible solutions to reduce the emission of VOCs from consumer products. The current plan requires an additional VOC reduction to achieve a goal of 1-2 tonnes per day (tpd) by 2023 in the South Coast region, as well as an 8-10 tpd reduction state-wide by 2031 (including 4-5 tpd reduction in the South Coast).

To find where meaningful emission reductions could take place, CARB undertook a survey covering 491 product categories, 1400 company respondents, and more than 1 million consumer products. This identified 47 categories where VOC reduction may be possible. As part of the rulemaking process, CARB then held Public Work Group Meetings to present the survey data and liaise with stakeholders on the possible impacts of additional limits on VOCs in consumer products.

The first 21 categories were presented to Public Work Group Meetings in May and June 2019. Stakeholders should be aware, not all of the designated product categories will become subject of new or additional regulation. To learn more about the potential new VOC limits, read our original SafeGuard 086/19.

Stakeholders should also be aware CARB is currently looking at fragrance – its definition and exemption status. Currently, CARB considers fragrance to be 100% VOC and is working with the industry to better understand mixture composition.

Additionally, as part of the upcoming rulemaking, a monoterpene guidance document for clarifying the applicability of the fragrance exemption is being considered as it relates to general purpose cleaners and degreasers. This proposed guidance document may either confirm that specific monoterpenes are not to be considered within the fragrance exemption, reduce the fragrance exemption with an allowance for monoterpenes, eliminate the fragrance exemption and slightly increase VOC limits, or provide other guidance on this topic.

SGS Cosmetics & Personal Care Testing Services
SGS provides testing, inspection, auditing and consulting services to manufacturers, distributors and importers to ensure a high level of product quality in every area. A global network of state-of-the-art laboratories offer custom-made solutions for chemical, biophysical, microbiological, stability and biological aspects. Learn more about SGS’s Cosmetics & Personal Care Testing Services. (

SGS SafeGuardS keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in the consumer goods industry. Read the full CARB Update on Public Work Group Meetings to Evaluate Categories for VOC Emissions Reductions SafeGuardS. []

Subscribe here,, to receive SGS SafeGuardS direct to your inbox.

For further information contact:

Joseph Scognamiglio
Technical Manager
Tel: +1 973 461 7937
LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

About SGS
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 97,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.

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