Release 01-28
September 20, 2001 
CONTACT: Jerry Martin
(916) 322-2990
Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730

 ARB Eliminates Emissions from Mobile Equipment Coatings

    SACRAMENTO – The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (ARB) today banned the use hexavalent chromium and cadmium in motor vehicle and mobile equipment coatings.
    ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd said, “The elimination of these two substances from automotive coatings will reduce the significant cancer risk that occurs at low exposure levels. This reduction will go a long way in protecting public health, especially those who live near auto body repair and paint shops.”

     The air toxic control measure prohibits the addition of both hexavalent chromium and cadmium to motor vehicle and mobile equipment coatings starting January 1st, 2003.  Specifically, the regulation prohibits the sale and use, in California, of any motor vehicle and/or mobile equipment coating that contains hexavalent chromium or cadmium.

     Facility owners and operators have until December 31, 2003 to use any remaining coatings containing hexavalent chromium or cadmium.  The regulation also provides manufacturers a six month sell-through period to deplete their inventories.  Auto body and paint shops have a 12 month sell-through period to remove non-complying coatings from their inventories.

    As of 1996, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Antelope Valley Air Pollution Control District have prohibited the use of automotive coatings that contain hexavalent chromium or cadmium.  Statewide, ARB estimates show that 99 percent of the auto body repair and refinishing facilities already use chromium-free and cadmium-free coatings.  Overall, the banning of chromated and cadmium containing automotive coatings in California is not expected to have a noticeable cost impact on most manufacturers and marketers of automotive coatings.  For those companies that use chromated paints, the change to non-chromated coatings could result in a 6 percent cost increase.

    The ARB identified hexavalent chromium and cadmium as toxic air contaminants (TAC) at its January 1986 and January 1987, board hearings, respectively.  Each TAC was identified without a threshold exposure level.  California law requires the ARB to reduce emissions of the toxic air contaminants to the lowest level achievable once they are identified as TACs.

    The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB’s mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

    The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our web site at

# # # # #