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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Outdoor Air - Industry, Business, and Home: Auto Body Shops

You can help auto body shop owners and operators reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), particle pollution (dust), and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that may affect auto body repair shop employees, their families, customers, and the community by encouraging auto body shop owners and operators to conduct these activities:

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Reduce Use of Solvent Cleaners

      How?
  • Use an enclosed solvent gun washing system to reduce evaporation when cleaning equipment.
  • Turn off the parts cleaner when not in use. This reduces solvent evaporation.
  • Instead of cleaning with solvents, use a water-based cleaning system such as hot soap washers.
  • Recycle old solvent by using an on-site distillation unit.
      Benefits
  • Reduces emissions of HAPs and VOC.
  • Reduces costs of hazardous waste disposal.
  • Enclosed solvent gun washing systems decrease costs by cutting the amount of solvent used for cleaning by more than 50%, the labor time by 60%, and air pollution by 70% to 90%.
      Costs
  • Exact costs depend on site-specific factors.
  • Replacement of solvents and equipment.
      More Information

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Reduce Paint Use

      How?
  • Use high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) spray guns instead of conventional spray guns. These guns cost more than conventional spray guns, but using HVLP spray guns reduce labor time and product costs as well as pollution.
  • Train technicians to use good spray application techniques to improve transfer efficiency. A higher transfer efficiency saves paint, leads to reduced application time, and decreases worker exposure to hazardous air pollutants.
  • Minimize waste and spills when mixing paint.
  • Reduce vapors and waste by using air-tight containers. Open containers only when adding or pouring liquid.
      Benefits
  • Reduces labor time.
  • Reduces costs associated with product purchases.
  • Reduces application times.
  • Reduces worker exposure to hazardous air pollutants.
      Costs
  • Cost savings: Improved application techniques save up to 23% in material costs.
      More Information

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Use Less-Toxic Paints and Solvents

      How?
  • If possible, use less-toxic, water-borne, or higher-solids paints.
  • Choose solvents with low hazardous air pollutant and volatile organic compound content.
      Benefits
  • Less costs associated with hazardous waste disposal.
  • Switching to water-borne paints may require more preparation and drying time, but it minimizes the need for cleaning solvents.
      Costs
  • Exact costs depend on site-specific factors.
  • Replacement of coating operations: EPA sponsors the Coatings Guide™ for paints and coatings users which contains several tools to help users identify low-VOC/hazardous air pollutant coatings and coating systems that may serve as drop-in replacements for existing coating operations.
      More Information

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Minimize Dust from Sanding Operations

      How?
  • Use a vacuum sander to collect dust during sanding operations.
  • Leave work clothes and shoes at the shop. Have clothes cleaned by a professional laundering service.
  • Do not eat or drink food left in the work area because particle pollution (dust) can contaminate these items.
  • Do not smoke in the work area because it is possible to swallow dust through hand-to-mouth contact.
      Benefits
  • Reduces exposure to HAPs.
  • Reduces chance of dust settling onto freshly painted surfaces.
  • Reduces filter and sandpaper usage.
      Costs
  • Costs of a vacuum system.
  • Costs of sending clothing to be laundered.
      More Information

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Upgrade Shop Equipment

      How?
  • Several tools are available to help determine the benefits and costs of upgrading shop equipment.
  • State, local, and Tribal pollution prevention offices may have funding available for equipment upgrade.
      Benefits
  • Reduces emissions.
  • Reduces costs of materials and hazardous waste disposal.
      Costs
  • Cost of upgrading equipment.
      More Information

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