Printech Archive
VOC content/photochemical reactivity

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From: Deb Jacobson (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 06:55:32 CST

>A PNEAC web site user posted this question through the "Ask PNEAC"
>feature. This may be useful to other listserv subscribers. I have
>attached a reply to the question from Gary Jones of GATF.

Deb Jacobson

>This Ask PNEAC question :
>Question: How do I properly figure out the VOC content for my coating and
>printing formulas? Is there a listing of chemicals showing their VOC content?
The only acceptable approach to determining VOC content of inks and coating
is by conducting a USEPA Method 24 test. VOC content is determined by the use
of USEPA Method 24. Method 24 requires four steps which involve a weight
loss, water content, density, and exempt compound determinations. The weight
loss determination requires a small sample (0.3-0.5 grams) of ink is placed
into a forced draft air oven for one hour at 110 C. The water content
analysis is usually performed via the Karl-Fisher method. The VOC content is
determined by adjusting the weight loss with the water and exempt compound
content. The current list of exempt compounds is very short and includes
1,1,1 trichloroethane, methylene chloride, ethane, methane, acetone,
chloroflorocarbons, methyl acetate, parachlorobenzotrifluoride and halons.

The only exception to Method 24 is Method 24A, which is only for the VOC
content determination of publication rotogravure inks. Method 24A is similar
to Method 24 except that the weight loss method is conducted at 120 for 24
hours. EPA has clarified its position that Method 24A is to be used only on
publication rotogravure inks.

The other approach that has received some acceptance by EPA is to calculate
the VOC content of your materials as long as it is based on Method 24 or 24A
information. This is accomplished by examining the ingredients and their test
results, identifying all VOCs and exempt compounds, knowing the exact
formulation, and product density. It is usually best to have your supplier
provide the calculated VOC content and certify it. EPA is willing to accept a
certified product data sheet from the manufacturer, but if there is a
difference between the measured value and the calculated value, then the
measured value will take precedence.

If you would like a copy of Method 24 or 24A, please let me know.

Gary Jones
Graphic Arts Technical Foundation
200 Deer Run Road
Sewickley, PA 15143
412/741-6860 x608 - Phone
412/741-2311 - Fax

Debra Jacobson (formerly Kramer)
E-mail Address (Revised 9/99)
IL Waste Management & Research Center / IL Dept of Natural Resources
1010 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 12
Oakbrook, IL 60523
630/472-5023 Fax

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