Regulators are taking another look at the emission rule on film converters in the Los Angeles basin, where the South Coast Air Quality Management District is evaluating what industry can do with water-based ink technology. A staff report is expected on Jan. 12.
``We have no preconceived notions, and we want the facts and information to speak for themselves and support the conclusions,'' said Fred Lettice, senior manager in charge of the SCAQMD's small coating, printing and chemical operations team.
SCAQMD has turned its attention to small-quantity emitters, such as the converters, after years of aggressively regulating large emission sources.
Restrictions on solvent-based inks have led to use of water-based inks for converting film roll stock to bags for fertilizers, carrots, tortillas, frozen foods and other packaging. The year-end phase-out of 1,1,1-trichloroethane in California adds to the rush to water-based ink.
Curtis Coleman, an attorney and former SCAQMD counsel, requested the evaluation Sept. 8 on behalf of the California Film Extruders & Converters Association in Corona del Mar, Calif.
Lettice said he expects to meet with Coleman and association members in early October to discuss the technical feasibility and costs of using water-based inks.
Converters must invest heavily in equipment, employee training and research to make effective use of the inks.
SCAQMD ``keeps trying to cap emissions in the basin, moving them down to unreasonably low levels,'' according to Edwin C. Laird, president of Coatings Resource Corp. during an interview in his Huntington Beach, Calif., office.
``Regulators haven't played fair with this industry,'' he said.
CFECA's printers committee retained AQC Environmental Engineers Inc., a division of Coatings Resource, for help with the printing ink issues.
SCAQMD regulates stationary sources of pollution in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and portions of San Bernadino and Riverside counties.