Car paints are mostly used for auto body repair. And it is known that most paints are solvent based. But the fact that solvents can escape into the air means that they also contribute to air pollution. In fact, the majority of such organic solvents impose great damage to the environment.
And today, higher air quality standards demand the use of water-based paint for auto body repair uses. This demand will soon be a standard.
About couple of years ago, two of California’s largest air quality management districts imposed emissions regulations and required the use of water based paints. And as expected, this trend instigated new legislations that aim the reduction of harmful emissions from the automotive finishing and refinishing sectors, at least in California.
Essentially, one of the most infamous regulation changes that automotive refinishing industry in Southern California has dealt with was the lowering of the limits of VOCs found in products used to paint cars.
VOC actually stands for “volatile organic compounds”. These are solvents and other compounds contribute to pollution. Typical VOCs consist of the solvents in paints, adhesives and inks. However, VOCs are not just limited to paint supplies as plastics release VOCs as well when they age. And these chemicals are alleged to react with gases in the atmosphere that contribute to smog, pollution, and toxic death.
This is understandably why there’s a pressing call for the use of water-based paint for automotive painting today. As you know, water is not organic and while it evaporates as well into the air, it is not a VOC.
With tighter regulations set by California Air Resources Board, there was a reformulation to switch solvent-based paint to waterborne. This step would allow refinishers to meet the new environment-friendly standards. Nowadays, finding solvent based materials becomes more and more difficult.
However, there are some considerations to remember in using waterborne paint for auto body repair. Although there are some available waterborne primers, generally you still have to use traditional, solvent-based primer. As a result, colors tend to dry to a dull satin finish. You will have to clear it to achieve the shine you want.
Also, before spraying the clearcoat, it is important to have enough airflow across the panel. When using a water-based paint, you need to allow the paint to dry fully as it dries differently from solvent-based paint. You see, solvent based system requires lesser time to dry up than water-based paint as it evaporates much faster. However, the continued use of such hazardous compounds will in turn speed up the damages in the environment.
Down the line, the convenience offered by solvent-based products may not be convenient for the environment.