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About the Automotive Refinishing Project

Automotive Refinishing Home | About This Project | Findings & Accomplishments | Publications | Partners

The DfE Program is working in partnership with the auto refinish (collision repair) industry to promote best practices and technologies that reduce toxic emissions of diisocyanates, organic solvents, heavy metals, and other hazardous air pollutants. The auto refinishing sector represents about 60,000 shops and more than 200,000 collision repair technicians. The total number of shop employees is significantly higher. Residents near shops may also be exposed to toxic emissions.

Initially, DfE conducted a pilot with partner shops in the Philadelphia area to identify best practices and technologies, costs, and benefits. DfE has developed numerous helpful products, including a virtual auto body Web siteExit Disclaimer with links to primary health, safety, environmental, and technical information. Recently, DfE tested the effectiveness of its hands-on approach in 40 Pennsylvania shops that volunteered to host a confidential site visit. As a direct result of these visits, led by an industrial hygienist and an experienced auto refinish painter, more than 75% of the shops made changes, including:

  • improved spray painting techniques to reduce emissions
  • better respiratory and dermal protection
  • ventilation in the paint mixing room
  • spray gun cleaning techniques

DfE and its partner shops believe the best practices site visit program is an effective catalyst for changing shop behavior and practices. DfE is currently conducting train-the trainer workshops, using the DfE Best Practices, to encourage similar site visits to shops across the country.

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