EPA body shop regulations - 2011

EPA has new requirements to reduce air pollution of metals such as chrome, lead, cadmium, manganese and nickel compounds, and also to reduce methylene chloride fumes, from autobody refinishing work.  These compounds pose health risks to anyone who breathes the air when these fumes are present. Many paints used in autobody refinishing work contain these compounds. 

The new regulations require autobody shops and refinishing businesses to do several things to prevent these metals from getting into the air during spray painting.

This is a short summary of things an existing shop must do before January 2011.  New autobody shops must do all these before beginning to paint.  Although EPA has no requirements for hobbyists or private citizens, two things should be noted:

  • The following are also good practices to improve the air for anyone exposed to autobody paint overspray.
  • The new regulations strictly define what qualifies one as a hobbyist or private citizen when it comes to autobody painting

    For more details and assistance, please talk to your local environmental contact.  These web links to government contacts are a good place to start:
  1.  All spray painting must be done in a spray booth
  2. Full cars must be painted in a spray booth with four walls, a roof and a ventilation system.   (Filters in the booth have to remove at least 98% of the particulates.  Your filter provider can give you the right filters and necessary paperwork.)
  3. Parts of cars must be painted in a booth with at least three walls or flaps, a roof and a ventilation system that pulls air into the spray booth.
  4. Spot repairs must be done in an enclosure which prevents any mist from getting out of the enclosure.  
  5. Painters must use spray guns and techniques which reduce overspray (such as HVLP).
  6. All painters must receive training.  Owners must keep records of the training of each painter.
  7. For information on techniques and information your painters need to know and workshops available seethe Collision Repair Campaign website with upcoming trainings-
    • http:/www.epa.gov/air/toxicair/community/collision.html
  1. Paint spray gun cleaning cannot create any mist of cleaning solvent to the air.  You may spray solvent through the gun for cleaning purposes using an enclosed gun cleaner or you may clean the gun manually.
  2. All shops must also send a notification to EPA with some general information by January 2010:
  3. Location of facility
  4. Description of spray painting equipment
  5. Confirmation that shop has necessary equipment and training.
  6. An example of this notification is found here: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/area/paint_strip_example.doc
  7. Exemptions to the rule are facility maintenance activities, which include the application of coatings to stationary structures or their appurtenances at the site of installation, to portable buildings at the site of installation, and to pavements and curbs,
  8.  You can send this notice that you are an owner or operator, to your local    

 EPA office.  Your state is listed in the web link for your EPA office –