In our newsletter, due out April 2010, we’ve interviewed Phil Holgate, head of TAMSA CONSULTING and the leading industry boffin (that is a polite word by the way) on VOCs and other chemical matters relating to floor coatings.
VOC means VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUND. It is the accepted industry measure of “toxicity”, for want of a better word, contained within floor coatings and heaps of other industrial chemical based products like paints etc.
Whether we like it or not, scrutiny on chemical toxicity is increasing in all walks of life and our industry cannot escape the glare of the nanny state.
Now, for our standard disclaimer: We are not against solvent-based polyurethanes. That would be awkward, what with the fact that we SELL THEM ! They are, at this present moment, the most durable and cost-effective option. Tuffcoat, for example, has the highest solids on the market for it’s very easy flow rate.
This is about disclosure, and the fact that these issues are not going to get any simpler, so being informed, and being able to inform, is becoming increasingly important.
We recently received a call from a contractor who had put a solvent-based coating in a commercial premises which was shared. The coating was applied out of hours. Office workers from elsewhere in the premises, working the next day, complained of odours. Some even went home.
Notwithstanding the fact that some people will use any excuse to knock off, this has serious implications. The contractor assumed that if the coating met “Australian Design Standards” then surely, he was “covered”. It’s not that simple.
Solvent-based coatings meet standards inasmuch as they are not illegal to manufacture in Australia. That is, they don’t use weapons-grade plutonium or anything like that.
However, the choice to apply a solvent-based coating in either a domestic or commercial situation is entirely the contractor’s.
Part 2 of our disclaimer: While we sell and promote solvent-based coatings, we are of the opinion that for a contractor to only offer solvent-based and nothing else to his customers, is perilous at best. Remember, there are choices. Even solvent-based manufacturers agree with this. That’s why they all make a lower-VOC of some kind.
Before you finalise your quote to your customer, a basic bit of groundwork will spare you from potential litigation. Is there anyone here who is pregnant, has a skin condition, asthma, chemical sensitivity of any kind? You must a) ask the questions, then b) offer the alternative options, then c) be prepared and able to apply the option (no point in offering waterbased poly then having no idea how to apply it).
There is more, but this is the long and the short of it. For more information, grab our April newsletter Hummings over the counter at Lagler in Melbourne. If you’re upstate/ interstate, call us and we’ll post one to you.
UPDATE: We have just posted the APRIL NEWSLETTER as an attachment two posts above.