Maaco Makes Dramatic Cuts to Smog-causing Emissions

    MILTON, ON, June 4 /CNW/ - Canada's leading collision repair and auto
painting organization is switching to new environmentally friendly methods and
materials, cutting pollution emissions by 64 per cent. Maaco Systems Canada,
Inc. will immediately make dramatic cuts to the compounds that contribute to
smog two years ahead of the Government of Canada's deadline.
    "We're very aware of the impact that paints, solvents and other chemicals
used in the painting process can have on the environment," said Gary Dohring,
President Maaco Systems Canada, Inc. "That's why we're not waiting another two
years to do what must be done. We're doing it today. We're changing our
practices now to reduce air pollution and help protect and preserve the
environment for generations to come."
    The Government of Canada is bringing forward a regulation requiring the
auto repair industry to reduce its annual volatile organic compound (VOC)
emissions by 40 per cent. The current proposal is that the regulation will
come into force in the beginning of January 2009.
    Maaco Systems Canada, which has 36 franchised body shops across the
country, will cut its VOC emissions by an additional 24 per cent over and
above government targets. The decision to go early will prevent roughly 65
tonnes of harmful emissions from ever entering the environment between now and
when the regulation is due to take effect. That's the equivalent of taking
approximately 1000 vehicles off the road each year.
    VOCs are compounds containing at least one carbon atom, excluding carbon
monoxide and carbon dioxide. When released into the atmosphere, VOCs can
participate in atmospheric photochemical reactions leading to the formation of
ground-level ozone and particulate matter - the main ingredients of smog.
Smog, in turn, has serious health implications for Canadians, including
thousands of premature deaths, hospital admissions and emergency room visits
every year.(1)
    Major VOC emission sources are the organic solvents used in many consumer
and commercial products, such as underarm anti-perspirants, exterior paints
used on homes, commercial printing inks, exhaust emissions from cars and
trucks, and various industrial processes such as chemical manufacturing.(2)
    In making the switch to a more environmentally friendly approach, Maaco
Systems Canada's franchise owners will convert their respective facilities to
low-VOC paints, modify their procedures and undergo comprehensive training to
ensure proper handling of the new materials. Some shops have already made the
shift and have begun using environmentally friendly materials and practices in
refinishing vehicles. Others are in the process of converting.
    The Lung Association, the national voice on respiratory health issues for
Canadians, welcomes the leadership being displayed by Maaco in cutting VOC
emissions. The Lung Association has long advocated for dramatic reductions in
VOCs and other harmful emissions. "Taking steps that reduce VOC emissions is
vital if we are to see significant improvements in air quality," said Nora
Sobolov, President and CEO of The Canadian Lung Association. "We hope that
other industries will follow Maaco's proactive lead in cutting harmful
emissions before they are required to do so by government and to levels that
exceed regulatory requirements."
    Pollution Probe, which has been advocating for better environmental
practices in Canada for more than 30 years, also supports Maaco's proactive
initiative. "Protecting the planet and its people requires that we reduce
emissions of VOCs. These emissions can be a significant air toxic themselves,
as well as a major component of smog," said Bob Oliver, Transportation
Director, Pollution Probe.
    It is estimated that more than five kilotonnes of VOCs are emitted each
year from coatings and surface cleaners used in automotive refinishing
operations in Canada.(3)
    "Maaco believes that industry has a responsibility to reduce its impact
on the environment today rather than tomorrow," added Dohring. "Reducing
emissions requires a collaborative effort and I challenge my industry
counterparts to do their part to reduce air pollution as soon as possible."

    Maaco Systems Canada, Inc. has been operating in Canada for more than 30
years and is headquartered in Milton, Ontario. The auto body chain has
serviced 1.1 million customers, including fleet contracts with Canada Post,
FedEx Ground and Rogers, among others.

    (1) Environment Canada Government Notice,
    (2) Environment Canada Government Notice,
    (3) Environment Canada Information Sheet, Regulations Being Developed to
        Limit the VOC..., March 2007.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

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