May 25, 2005
Subverting Environmental Protection
By: Rowan Wolf
A new regulation went into place January 1, 2005 for Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York. The regulation bans the sale of oil-based house paint, and was put in place reduce the level of ground-level ozone protection. It has caused a run on oil-based paint by some who are stockpiling.
The response to the regulation really disheartens me. It is determined that oil-based paint is increasing ground-level ozone damage. A regulation bans the ordering of any new stocks of oil-based paint. House painters run out to buy all the oil-based house paint they can, and (according to the article) "That has created a burgeoning market for imports -- from southern Virginia, where the restrictions are not in place because the pollution there is not as bad."
The message is clear - We WILL use oil-based paint and we don't care if it is destroying our local environment.
There are penalties for importing the regulated substances, but little enforcement. However, the threat of enforcement seems to be enough to stop some painters from doing so. Other's however, apparently "wax poetic" about the wonders and beauty of oil-based paints.
The article in the Post, made me both angry and sad. A product is a known hazard. Actually a hazard I didn't know about:
The problem with oil paints is that as they dry or sit out in the open, they give off volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that not only make the paint smell but interact with sun and heat to create ozone pollution. Recchia said alkyds create 170,000 tons of emissions a day in the so-called Ozone Transport Region. "It's one of the largest causes of VOC emissions, and it's comparable to some of the industrial plant sources," he (Christopher Recchia, executive director of the Ozone Transport Commission) said.
Knowing this, some folks figure they still want to use the paint, or think they have customers who will pay a premium to use the illegal paint. So the heck with the destruction, the heck with what's good for community health. It is clear from the article that if folks have a "preference" for something, or think the can make some extra bucks, health and safety don't even get on the radar screen.
Posted by Rowan at May 25, 2005 9:17 AM Category: Environment
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