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Compliance with law >> European Directives and Laws >> VOC in Paints Directive

VOC in Paints "Decopaint" Directive

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Decopaint Directive

European "Decopaint" Directive (2004/42/EC) is limiting the total content of VOCs in certain paints and varnishes and in vehicle refinishing products, with the goal to reduce VOC emissions and thus to limit the generation of ozone in lower atmosphere. Next revision is assumed to include more product groups. Timeline of that revision is unclear.

Any paint, varnish and vehicle refinishing product must not exceed the maximum VOC content limit values as specified in the Directive. The limit values are valid for the ready to use product. And the product must carry a label showing the type of product as given in the Directive, and the contents of VOC in g/l of the product in a ready to use condition.

For more details, please see our information in English, in French, and in German.
See here for German law adopting that regulation.


VOC content is tested in Europe by injection into gas chromatograph (ISO 11890-2) after dilution. Reactive products are allowed to stand open for 1 hour after mixing before start of test to allow first curing to happen, then VOC content is determined as total volatiles by monitoring weight loss during 1 hour heating at 110 °C (ASTM D2369, in analogy to most recent version of ISO 11890-1). In both cases no subtraction of neither water nor exempt compounds is performed, in contrast to corresponding US test methods.

Since 2010, ISO 11890-1 method is accepted as alternative method (determination of total volatiles by monitoring weight loss during 1 hour heating at 110 °C) besides ASTM D 2369 for products containing 15% solvents or more. Use of ISO 11890-2 continues to be possible as well. Only in the presence of reactive dilutents, ASTM 2369 shall be used and no other standard is accepted for Decopaint purposes for such products - see (Directive 2010/79/EU of 19 November 2010).

CEPE website contains helpful guidance documents on how to group paints into Decopaint categories - e.g. by paint subcategory, or by country and national paint categories.

Testing is different from US SCAQMD and other VOC limitations of coatings.

Eurofins provides testing and consulting for showing compliance with VOC limits as specified in Decopaint Directive, but also for US VOC limitations, e.g. in SCAQMD rules 1113 and 1168 and similar.


Upon demand to show compliance with SVOC limits (semi-volatile organic compounds) of the EU ecolabel for paints and coatings, work was started to include a SVOC determination in ISO 11890-2.

Contact to VOC Testing Laboratories

Please see here contact information of Eurofins VOC testing laboratories in Europe, China and Japan: