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Automotive Refinishing Partnership

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The Design for the Environment (DfE) Program works in partnership with the auto refinishing (collision repair) industry and career/technical schools to encourage best practices and cost-effective technologies that reduce air toxics in the workplace and surrounding community. DfE has conducted best practices training (PDF) (76 pp, 1.82MB, About PDF) for schools and businesses across the country and developed numerous tools to enhance the awareness of health and safety issues associated with automotive refinishing and reduce air toxics. DfE tools include a best practices outreach kit and CD, case studies, a self-evaluation checklist of best practices, an emissions reduction calculator, and a virtual auto body shop.

Automotive refinishers, who spray-paint cars, use harmful chemicals, including:

  • Diisocyanates, the leading cause of occupational asthma.
  • Organic Solvents,Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer such as toluene and ethylbenzene, which have been linked to numerous health effects.
  • Heavy metals, such as hexavalent chromium, which causes lung cancer; and lead, which has been linked to nerve and brain damage.

The DfE Program is working with the auto body/refinishing (collision repair) industry and career/technical schools to increase awareness of the health and environmental concerns associated with refinishing activities and to encourage the use of best practices and safer, cleaner, more efficient practices and technologies. Best shop practices and the use of safer alternative paints and solvents (e.g. waterborne technologies (PDF) (4 pp, 284.3K, About PDF) will help prevent pollution before it is created, and appropriate protective equipment and control technology will reduce workplace and environmental exposure and risk.

The DfE Best Practices Outreach Kit, developed for site visits and train-the-trainer workshops, contains excellent resources for shops and schools.

The DfE Best Practices Self-Evaluation Checklist (PDF) (18 pp, 374K, About PDF) is a tool to help businesses and schools evaluate current practices and technologies and identify areas where improvements can be made to protect workers, students and surrounding communities from toxic chemicals. An Excel version (560K) that allows automatic calculation of evaluation points is also available.

The Emissions Reduction Calculator will estimate emissions and material use reductions achieved through implementing DfE best practices.

A virtual auto body shop,Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer developed with CCAR®, the Coordinating Committee for Auto Repair, provides easy access to valuable health, safety, environmental, and technical links.

For more information, contact DfE.

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