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Paints, solvents and cleaners used in the automotive industry emit pollutants that contribute to the localized formation of ground level smog and air pollution. The production and use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) content paint is on the rise due to EPA mandates and manufacturers' response to the needs of auto refinishers.

Common operation wastes including paint booth filters, paint dust, and floor sweepings may be hazardous depending on the type of paint used. Waste paint is toxic and ignitable (may also contain heavy metals, petroleum compounds and organic acids). Most thinners and solvents are toxic and some (like naphtha and kerosene) are flammable. Worker health issues in auto body operations include exposure to these products, particulates, noise, and physical safety hazards.