Steel Manufacturing Blog: Keeping it Steel

What steel fabricators need to know about new VOC Regulations

Posted on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 @ 12:14 PM

VOC The world is becoming greener every day. This is a good thing but what does it mean to you when you have tons of steel to paint and have a tight schedule? You need to paint the steel and have it dry fast.

All paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOC). These are the chemicals that evaporate out of the paint as it is drying. In general, the higher the levels of VOC in paint the faster the dry time is. That’s good right? Not anymore. Volatile Organic Compounds have been found to be harmful to the environment and many states are now limiting them.

Under Federal (and State) regulations, paints for fabricated steel are considered “Industrial Maintenance” coatings. The Federal limit for these coatings is now 340 grams of VOCs per liter. That translates to 2.84 lbs. per gallon. States generally have the same limits but do vary.

This affects you because lowering the level of Volatile Organic Compounds can slow the drying time of your primers and coatings. Now what?  First you need to know what your state regulations are. Then you need to know the VOC levels of the paint you use. 

Pratt & Lambert has developed a line of basic shop coat primers that meet the new regulations but still offer effective drying times. Pratt & Lambert Red Oxide (SA4501) contains a maximum of 2.73 lbs. per gallon (327 grams per liter). Pratt & Lambert Shopcoat Gray (SA3102) contains a maximum of 2.76 lbs. per gallon (331 grams per liter). 

Drying times vary based on temperature, humidity, light, etc. but are still relatively fast.  Our customers report dry to handle times of 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours. Not too bad. 

For more detailed information about these regulations click the links below: 





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New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York



Rhode Island



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Tags: Industrial Maintenance