The VOC Paints Decree of Finland applies to architectural paints and varnishes and vehicle refinishing products
The solvent content of certain architectural paints and varnishes and vehicle refinishing products is restricted under the VOC Paints Decree of Finland (837/2005).
The VOC Paints Decree specifies the maximum content of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their inclusion in product labelling. The aim of the Decree is to reduce VOC emissions. When released into the air, these organic compounds react in the presence of sunlight and contribute to the formation of ozone in the lower atmosphere.
In exceptional cases Tukes may grant an exemption allowing the sale or purchase of a product with a VOC content exceeding the limit values given in the VOC Paints Decree for the restoration or maintenance of a building or old vehicle of historic and cultural value. An exemption can only be granted for a specific, restricted use.
Scope of application
The scope of application of the VOC Paints Decree covers certain vehicle refinishing products and paints and varnishes applied to buildings, their trim and fittings and associated structures for functional, decorative or protective purposes. Vehicle refinishing products covered by the Decree also include aerosols, but aerosols for architectural applications are not included in the scope of application.
The VOC Paints Decree does not apply to products used for functions, installations or activities included in the scope of application of the VOC Solvents Emissions Decree (435/2001, as amended) that are subject to environmental permit or notified for entry in the environmental protection database. These functions are subject to other restrictions on VOC emissions.
Schedules and transitional periods
At the beginning of 2007 it has only been permitted to place on the market paints and varnishes or vehicle refinishing products covered by the Decree that fulfil the requirements set by the Decree and that carry labelling that indicates the VOC content of the product in ready-to-use condition and the maximum VOC content permitted. At the beginning of 2008 vehicle refinishing products exceeding these limits may no longer be placed on the market. The limits set for architectural paints and varnishes were made even stricter at the beginning of 2010 with the introduction of the Phase II limit values. Again the products were allowed a 12-month phasing-out period. As of the beginning of 2011, architectural paints and varnishes exceeding the Phase II limit values may no longer be placed on the market.
Obligations regarding product composition
Products within the Decree's scope of application have been set maximum levels of VOCs that cannot be exceeded in ready-to-use products. VOCs mean volatile organic compounds with a boiling point of no more than 250˚C at a standard atmospheric pressure of 101.3 kPa. VOCs governed by the Decree do not, however, include such VOCs that react chemically during drying to form part of the paint or coating. VOC content is given in grams per litre. The maximum VOC contents for each subcategory can be found in Appendix 2 to the VOC Paints Decree. In addition to different purposes of use, limit values for architectural paints and varnishes are also given specifically for water-borne (WB) and solvent-borne (SB) products.
Package labelling obligations
The VOC Paints Decree obliges entrepreneurs to include information about the VOC level of products covered by the Decree in package labelling. The following package labelling information has been required:
- the subcategory of Appendix 1 of the Decree to which the product belongs
- the limit value (g/l) specified for the product in Appendix 2 of the Decree
- the maximum VOC content (g/l) of the product in ready-to-use condition
Do I need to comply with the VOC Paints Decree of Finland? (PDF)
Supervision and provision of information
The implementation of the provisions of the VOC Paints Decree is supervised by supervisory authorities referred to in section 22 of the Environmental Protection Act of Finland: the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) and municipal environmental protection authorities. Tukes is responsible for organising the supervision and drawing up the supervision programme used to monitor compliance with the Decree. Where necessary, supervision visits are also conducted.