Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Law
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

China Focuses on VOCs, Toxic Substances in Latest Draft Standards

Nov. 15, 2019, 5:06 PM

China has released draft standards for controlling volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and toxic substances in used to produce printer ink, cleaning agents, and several coating materials.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s standards are available for public comment until Dec. 12 and will be mandatory once they are in final form. The ministry said it estimated several would go into effect by Dec. 1, 2020.

In all, the ministry announced the release of 16 standards on Nov. 13, 10 of them detailing environmental and health limits in production or in products that come into contact with consumers.

The standards for control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in printer ink production set limits on VOC content, as well as set definitions for what is covered, testing requirements, and lists of prohibited solvents.

Standards for VOC control during production of adhesives as well as cleaning agents were also set.

VOCs are a key component in the formation of ground-level ozone pollution. China’s government has been introducing more stringent controls on VOCs to fight increasing air pollution.

Standards for Heavy Metals

For control of heavy metals in printer ink, other standards specify maximum allowable limits of lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, and heavy soluble metals in the ink products. They also set test and sampling procedures.

Draft standards for substances harmful to humans and the environment also were issued for wood coatings, construction coatings (paints and other wall coating material), vehicle coatings, and industrial protective coatings. Similarly, they also set testing and packaging markings requirements and substance limits.

Two other draft standards were also released. One covers the amount of acceptable toxic substances in metals, glass, plastics, and ceramics that come into direct contact with consumers. The other sets health and environmental controls on household pesticides.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Standaert in Shenzhen, China, at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at; Renee Schoof at