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On March 4, 2020, the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) released four mandatory national standards on VOCs in coatings, adhesives, inks and cleaning agents. These new standards would affect enterprises using these products in the electrical and electronics industry.

SAFEGUARDS | Electrical & ElectronicsNO. 086/20

 SG 08620 Chemical

On July 3, 2018, the State Council of the People's Republic of China released the ‘three-year action plan to win the battle for a blue sky’, in a bid to improve air quality. The plan proposes the implementation of special volatile organic compound (VOC) remediation plans for the petrochemical, chemical, industrial coating, packaging, printing and other key VOC emitting industries. It also proposes a ban on the production and use of high VOC-containing solvent-based coatings, inks, adhesives, etc. in key areas, and the implementation of special enforcement actions for VOCs, with the aim to reduce their total emission by more than 10% in 2020 when compared to 2015.

As one of the VOC remediation plans, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and SAC have released several mandatory national standards relating to VOCs, their test methods and content limits for coatings, adhesives, inks and cleaning agents. Some of these standards also have requirements for hazardous substances other than VOCs. Coatings, adhesives, inks and cleaning agents are all high-risk VOC-containing materials commonly used in the electrical and electronics industry. 

There are four mandatory national standards relating to coatings, adhesives, inks and cleaning agents used in the electrical and electronics industry. The implementation of these standards will have a significant impact on this industry. 

A summary of these four new mandatory national standards are indicated in Table 1.

Table 1. Summary of four new mandatory national standards relating to the electrical and electronics industry
Standard No. Name of the Standard Status of the Standard Regulated Items
GB 30981-2020[1]
Limit of harmful substances of industrial protective coatings
Replaces GB 30981-2014
  • Total volatile organic compounds
  • Benzene content; total content of methylbenzene and xylene (including ethylbenzene)
  • Total halogenated hydrocarbons
  • Total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), for naphthalene, anthracene
  • Methanol content
  • Total content of glycol ether and glycol ether ester solvents
  • Heavy metals content
GB 33372-2020[2]
Limit of volatile organic compounds content in adhesive
Replaces GB/T 33372-2016
  • Total volatile organic compounds
  • Individual VOC content shall meet the requirements of GB 30982 or GB 19340
GB 38507-2020[3]
Limits of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in printing ink New standard
  • Total volatile organic compounds
  • Halogenated hydrocarbons
  • Solvents that should not be added intentionally
GB 38508-2020[4]
Limits for volatile organic compounds content in cleaning agents
New standard
  • Total volatile organic compounds
  • Total content of dichloromethane, trichloromethane, trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Total content of benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene
Note: The above mandatory national standards were released on March 4, 2020. Except GB 38507-2020, which will be implemented on April 1, 2021, the other standards will become effective on December 1, 2020.

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