February 14, 2005

JAMA Announces Voluntary Guidelines for Reducing
Vehicle Cabin VOC Concentration Levels
~ To Satisfy Government Demands for 13 Volatile Organic Compounds ~

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) is set to pursue a voluntary approach to reducing the concentration levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the cabins of passenger cars.

VOC refers to organic compounds that are prone to volatility at normal room temperatures, with more-well-known types including formaldehyde, toluene and other varieties. The quick drying capacity, ability to easily clean off oil and dirt and other advantages of these compounds have led to their wide use in the industrial world, such as the solvents for paints, adhesives and other products, in the capacity of detergents and other applications.

Recent years have seen increasing attention focused on the “sick house syndrome” of air contamination inside homes. The causes include the highly airtight qualities of today’s residences, use of building and interior finishing materials emitting chemical substances and other factors. The main symptoms of the situation are identified as nose and throat irritation and other physical problems when entering or spending time in newly constructed or recently remodeled homes and office buildings. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW), the industrial world and others in Japan are working on countermeasures for VOC, which are viewed as one of the reasons behind the sick house dilemma.

JAMA considers the cabins of motor vehicles to comprise one part of residential space, and has carried out research and fact-finding studies into how VOC are used in automobiles, the optimum methods for testing VOC to allow for environments differing from those in residences and other pertinent factors. Based on the results of these investigations, the JAMA “Vehicle Cabin VOC Testing Methods (for Passenger Cars)” have been newly drafted as a guideline for conducting the necessary VOC measurements. Along with this, JAMA will also be launching the “Voluntary Approach to Vehicle Cabin VOC Reduction” – methods designed to satisfy the interior concentration level guideline figures set by MHLW for 13 different substances. The approach is slated to be applied to new model passenger cars marketed from 2007.

Japan’s automakers have attempted to reduce the amounts of VOC used in vehicle manufacture over the years to date as well. Among the many substances considered to fall under the VOC category, this latest undertaking will place the priority on reducing types for which MHLW has set interior concentration level guideline values. In more specific terms, for the solvents contained in paints, adhesives and other products, efforts will be made to promote the use of water-based solvents or eliminate solvents from the items altogether.

Furthermore, because the VOC used in vehicle cabins are comprised of combinations of volatile components from the numerous parts actually used inside the cabins, this approach will also strive to gain the cooperation of parts and materials manufacturers from here on.

Profile of Voluntary Approach

1. Timing and Target Vehicles
Applied to new passenger cars from fiscal year 2007 (models manufactured and sold domestically in Japan).
(For trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles, studies are currently underway with the goal of announcing a similar voluntary approach by the end of fiscal year 2005.)

2. Target Values
The target values for the JAMA approach are designed to satisfy the indoor concentration level guidelines set for 13 substances by the “Council to Study the Sick House Problem” (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare). Automakers will continue to advance efforts to further lower their vehicle cabin concentration levels thereafter as well.

Indoor Concentration Level Guideline Figures Set by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

Substance Name Indoor Concentration Guideline Value*
Formaldehyde 100μg/m3 (0.08ppm)
Toluene 260μg/m3 (0.07ppm)
Xylene 870μg/m3 (0.20ppm)
Paradichlorobenzene 240μg/m3 (0.04ppm)
Ethyl benzene 3800μg/m3 (0.88ppm)
Styrene 220μg/m3 (0.05ppm)
Cholorpyrifos 1μg/m3 (0.07ppb)
For children: 0.1μg/m3 (0.007ppb)
Di-n-butyl phthalate 220μg/m3 (0.02ppm)
Tetradecan 330μg/m3 (0.04ppm)
Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate 120μg/m3 (7.6ppb)
Diazinon 0.29μg/m3 (0.02ppb)
Acetaldehyde 48μg/m3 (0.03ppm)
Fenobucarb 33μg/m3 (3.8ppb)
(*): Converted values at 25°C. (25 Celsius) ppb=1/1000ppm

3. Testing Methods
Concentration level measurements are according to the “Vehicle Cabin VOC Testing Methods (Passenger Cars)” adopted by JAMA.

(1) Pre-measurement conditions Standard condition, ventilating for 30 minutes with doors and windows open.
(2) Concentration measurements with vehicle closed
Close all doors and windows, use radiating lamps to heat vehicle in an airtight state, controlling cabin temperature at 40°C(40 Celsius). Maintain this condition for 4.5 hours, then sample cabin air for 30 minutes.
(3) Concentration measurements when driving
(Toluene, etc.)
After sampling, start the engine (air-conditioner operation) and sample cabin air for 15 minutes in that state.