Understanding California’s VOC Limits: A Comprehensive Guide for Perfume and Fragrance Enthusiasts

Perfumes and fragrances are beloved by many people who want to express their personal style and enhance their overall presence. However, it is important to be aware of regulations regarding volatile organic compounds (VOCs), especially in regions such as California where strict limits are in place. In this comprehensive guide, we take a closer look at California’s VOC limits and what they mean for the perfume and fragrance industry.

The Importance of VOC Limits

Volatile Organic Compounds, commonly known as VOCs, are carbon-based chemicals that evaporate easily and contribute to air pollution. These compounds can adversely affect air quality, human health, and the environment. In an effort to mitigate these effects, California has established VOC limits for various products, including perfumes and fragrances.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) plays a key role in regulating VOC emissions in the state. CARB sets standards and enforces regulations to reduce air pollution and protect public health. Their efforts have led to the establishment of VOC limits for consumer products, such as perfumes and fragrances, to minimize their contribution to air pollution and maintain air quality standards.

VOC limits for perfumes and fragrances

In California, perfumes and fragrances fall under the category of “personal fragrance products” and are subject to specific VOC limits. These limits are outlined in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), specifically Title 17, Section 94509. These regulations specify the maximum allowable VOC content for personal fragrance products sold or supplied in the State of California.
VOC limits for personal fragrance products in California vary by product type. For example, eau de parfum is limited to 20% VOC, while eau de toilette is limited to 10% VOC. In addition, certain fragrance products, such as solid perfumes, are subject to a 2% VOC limit. It is critical for perfume and fragrance manufacturers, distributors and retailers to comply with these VOC limits to ensure that their products meet California’s regulatory standards.

Compliance and Labeling Requirements

Compliance with California’s VOC limits includes not only meeting the maximum allowable VOC content, but also meeting specific labeling requirements. Personal fragrance products sold in California must be clearly labeled to indicate their VOC content. This labeling requirement is intended to provide consumers with transparent information about the product’s compliance with VOC limits and to enable them to make informed purchasing decisions.
Manufacturers and distributors are responsible for accurately labeling the VOC content of their products. They must conduct appropriate testing and analysis to determine the VOC content of their perfumes and fragrances, and then label the product packaging accordingly. By complying with these labeling requirements, companies demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability and consumer safety.

The impact on the perfume and fragrance industry

California’s VOC limits have significant implications for the perfume and fragrance industry. Manufacturers and retailers will need to carefully evaluate their product formulations, manufacturing processes and supply chains to ensure compliance. This may involve reformulating existing products, seeking alternative ingredients or adopting innovative manufacturing techniques to reduce VOC emissions.
While meeting VOC limits can present challenges for the industry, it also presents an opportunity for innovation and sustainability. Adopting green practices and developing low-VOC or VOC-free fragrance formulations can not only help companies comply with regulations, but also appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. In addition, it encourages the adoption of greener manufacturing practices and reduces environmental impact.


What are the VOC limits in California?

The VOC limits in California vary depending on the specific industry and product category. The state has implemented stringent regulations to control volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, which contribute to air pollution and the formation of smog. Here are some examples of VOC limits in California:

What are the VOC limits for architectural coatings in California?

For architectural coatings, such as paints and varnishes, California has established VOC limits based on product type. These limits range from 50 grams per liter (g/L) for flat coatings to 100 g/L for non-flat coatings. However, there are lower VOC limits for certain specialty coatings and primers.

What are the VOC limits for consumer products in California?

California also sets VOC limits for various consumer products to reduce their environmental impact. Some examples include VOC limits of 30% by weight for aerosol air fresheners, 6% by weight for multi-purpose lubricants, and 10% by weight for hair sprays.

What are the VOC limits for automotive coatings in California?

Automotive coatings, such as primers and topcoats, are subject to VOC limits in California. The specific limits depend on the type of coating and its application method. For example, the VOC limit for automotive primer surfacers is 2.1 pounds per gallon (lbs/gal), while the limit for automotive topcoats is 3.5 lbs/gal.

Are there VOC limits for industrial adhesives and sealants in California?

Yes, California has established VOC limits for industrial adhesives and sealants. The limits depend on the adhesive or sealant type and its application method. For instance, the VOC limit for construction adhesives is 70 g/L, while the limit for single-component sealants is 250 g/L. There are also different limits for other types of adhesives and sealants used in industrial applications.