Durability + Design
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

DURABILITY + DESIGN BLOG

Comment |

Politics and Paint: More or Less Government in Coatings?

THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2010

By Harold Hower


More items for Coatings Technology

Most people today, it seems, want the government to reduce its expenditures; limit its role in business and finance; and cut taxes, as in the credo of the Tea Party Movement.

I’ve thought about these ideas in terms of the coatings industry, and wondered whether we would be better off with or without the level of government intrusion we’ve had for the last 20-30 years.

There seem to be three main ways that government affects business and technology—executive orders from the office of the President, enactment of laws, and regulatory rulemaking. Let’s briefly look at some of the government’s actions in each of the three areas.

By executive order from the President in about 1998, federal buildings were mandated to reduce their energy consumption dramatically within a short period. This order, in part, gave impetus to research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and the National Institute of Building Science on reflective roof coatings, air and vapor barriers, and other aspects of building science. Such work led to revisions to building codes and establishment of building-envelope councils, which spread technical developments about this research to the architectural community. Demand was created, especially for liquid- and sheet-applied air and vapor barriers and reflective roof coatings. The coatings industry has profited from this development, and the country has reduced its energy bills.

Laws affecting the coatings industry, enacted at the federal level, have included the Clean Air Act and its Amendments and the Toxic Substances Control Act. As a result of these and similar laws, coatings now have many fewer toxic elements and dramatically lower volatile organic components. In complying with these laws, the coatings industry has contributed substantially to better air quality, improved occupational health, and safer dwellings and public spaces.  The reduction in medical costs from these improvements must be very substantial. Of course, there has also been a big cost to industry for compliance.

Regulatory rulemaking that influences the coatings industry comes mostly from EPA and OSHA, to protect the environment and painters engaged in coating work. There are obvious benefits to the public when, for instance, blast abrasive contaminated with lead paint from a bridge is not allowed to be dumped into the river beneath the bridge, and when painters are not injured by coatings laced with neurotoxic solvents. But, again, compliance does not come cheap. Whereas a bridge may have been painted 30 years ago for a dollar a square foot, today the cost may be $10 a square foot or higher.

We’re safer and healthier today because of government influence on the coatings industry. And industry has in some ways profited from market stimulation arising from government actions. But also some companies fell by the wayside because of the high cost of compliance, and some states and municipalities cannot afford to maintain infrastructure with coatings. Have we come out ahead or behind?

What’s your opinion? We invite your opinion and comment in seeking to make Durability + Design a forum for discussion.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Harold Hower

Harold Hower, CEO and founder of Technology Publishing Company, likes to think about ways of improving conditions in the architectural coatings industry.

SEE ALL CONTENT FROM THIS CONTRIUBTOR

   

Tagged categories: Coatings technology; Regulations

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Keim Mineral Coatings
 
Mineral Silicate Paints + Stains Fuse to Concrete
 
• Forms permanent chemical bonds
• Becomes part of the concrete
• Will never peel
• Looks completely natural
 

 
Shield Industries, Inc
 
FireGuard® E-84 Intumescent Coating - Shield Industries, Inc
 
Trust the certified protection of the industry’s most innovative intumescent coating FireGuard® E-84 to provide you with the 1 and 2 hour fire ratings you need.
 

 
Novatek Corporation
 
Novatek Portable Air Filtration Systems
 
Air Scrubbers/Negative Air machines for restoration, abatement, dust & odor control, hazardous contaminant removal from job sites to clean rooms and hospitals. Portable, affordable!
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@durabilityanddesign.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 

© Copyright 2012-2018, Technology Publishing Co., All rights reserved