SoCal Printers - Action Needed to Avoid Disruption

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which covers the four counties in the LA area, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino, wants to ban the use of two chemicals, Parachlorobenzotrifluoride (PCBTF) and Tertbutyl Acetate (TBAC), because they are considered toxic chemicals under their Rule 1401, Air Toxics. Since these chemicals do not contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) they have been used in cleaning solution blends that meet the 100 gram/liter limit under SCAQMD’s Rule 1171, Solvent Cleaning Operations.

The SCAQMD realizes that banning PCBTF and TBAC under Rule 1401 could cause significant problems for the printing industry and to avoid this they are looking to see if there are alternative chemicals available. The Alliance has been actively representing the industry and interacting with the SCAQMD staff on its members' behalf. We agreed to contact the Alliance’s members and collect information on the cleaning solutions currently being used and to gather information on their effectiveness. If you are in the LA area, please take a few minutes and follow this link to fill out the survey and provide feedback on your experiences working with “California Washes”. All the responses we receive will be shared with the SCAQMD staff in summary form so that we might be able to find the best solution for printers in the South Coast. 

If alternative chemicals are not available, SCAQMD is considering revising the VOC content limits under Rule 1171. The options are to increase the allowable VOC content, allow vapor pressure as an option, or use a reactivity-based approach. These alternatives are very exciting because they open the possibility that printers might be able to use cleaning solutions that have more solvency.

However, there is no commitment on the part of the SCAQMD to revise Rule 1171. This is why we need to get as many printing operations located in the South Coast area to complete the survey. Change can only occur if the printing industry demonstrates the difficulties of working with cleaning solutions that meet the current limit. We have had some members share their frustrations, but we need to collect and aggregate this information, so it is representative of the industry across the various printing technologies.


In this article, Sara Osorio, Coordinator, EHS Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance, reviews potential changes to the South Coast’s Air Toxics and Cleaning Solvents rules. More information about this and other sustainability issues can be found at Business Excellence-EHS Affairs or reach out to Sara directly if you have questions about how these issues may affect your business:   
To become a member of the Alliance and learn more about how our subject matter experts can assist your company with services and resources such as those mentioned in this article, please contact the Alliance membership team: 888-385-3588 /


Sara Osorio Environmental, Health and Safety Affairs Coordinator

Sara Osorio is the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Affairs Coordinator at PRINTING United Alliance. Her primary responsibility is to assist members with EHS regulatory compliance, sustainability, and EHS consulting. Sara also monitors the EHS regulatory activities at the federal and state-level that impact the printing industry including those occurring at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and other agencies. She develops guidance material for members, gives presentations, and writes articles on EHS regulations and sustainability issues. She also supports the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership and Alliance members in their efforts to certify printing operations in sustainable manufacturing.

Sara received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Florida International University and is pursuing and Master of Science in Sustainable Management from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.

Speaking Topics:

  • Regulatory compliance and sustainability
  • Webinars on a wide variety of EHS related topics
  • Customized seminars and workshops
  • Employee training on safety and environmental compliance