Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

August, 2003

Specifications for Spray Booth Filters

Q. I sell filters to many local manufacturers and collision shops. From time to time I am asked if their exhaust filters comply with the NESHAP, EPA, etc., regulations. When I try to research what they are, I am blinded by swarms of paperwork with no definitive answer. What laws around the country must I consider when recommending an exhaust filter for their booths?

A. You are understandably confused. There is only one spray booth filter standard of which I am aware, and that is EPA Method 319 which you can download from the EPA website, You might need to search for it, but I'm sure you'll find it.

The only regulation of which I am aware that regulates filters is the Aerospace NESHAP (which you can also download from the EPA site). Only large aerospace paint users, those which are "major sources" for HAPs are subject to the rule. All other aerospace companies are free and clear from the Aerospace NESHAP.

If you want to be able to sell filters that comply with an EPA requirement, then I suggest that you have your filters tested per EPA Method 319 and then advertise that your filters meet the EPA test.

Please bear in mind that many of the filters that I see when I visit spray booths would not under any circumstances pass the test. They have too open a mesh size and they have low particulate capture efficiencies. Therefore, you may find that some of your filters will not pass the test.

Finally, be aware that aside from the aerospace NESHAP many states have state or local permit requirements for spray booths that demand a minimum particulate capture efficiency, such as 99.5%. (I have used 99.5% only as an example.) It is up to the end user to be able to demonstrate that his/her spray booth captures 99.5% of the particulates. If I were an end user who had a permit requirement such as the one given above, I would only want to purchase high efficiency filters, and would probably not purchase many of the filters that are readily available on the market.

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