An example of an EPA-approved decal
The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mission is to protect human health and the environment. One way the EPA aims to do this is with the stickers seen on nearly any and every product — most include a picture of an exclamation point inside a triangle. Not all warnings are obvious and the message is meant to protect consumers and the environment, so the EPA creates and enforces strict guidelines for decals.
EPA Decal Text Requirements
The label must be legible and the text must be at least 24-point bold type. The EPA requires that the text color must contrast with the background color. It is important that everyone can read the labels, so there are also EPA language requirements. Additionally, the labels must indicate any applicable federal law and any warnings about engine damage the product could cause.
Labeling Requirements for Oil Pumps
All oil retailers must conspicuously display a label in the immediate area of each pump. The placement of the label must be on the upper two-thirds of the pump in a clearly visible location. If there are pumps on the front and back, each side needs a label. The consequences for neglecting these specifications are fines ranging from $500 for unlabeled pumps to $1,000 for mislabeled pumps.
Boat Decal Specifications
The National Marine Manufacturers Association represents American boat, marine engine and accessory manufacturers and sells EPA-approved labels for these products. One such label states 10 important checks before starting the engine. Other labels are required in compliance with the Annex V of the MARPOL Treaty for boats 26 feet or longer. One label states before 12 miles out it is illegal to dump materials like glass, metal or food, but past 25 miles it is only illegal to dump plastic. Another required label states it is illegal to discharge oil into the ocean.
Engine Decal Specifications
In order for an engine to be imported into the United States the engine must have a sticker on it or a letter from the engine manufacturer stating that the engine meets all EPA requirements. For example, federal emissions requirements, including how much carbon monoxide is present in the exhaust released from a car. Ideally the amount is minimal.
Miscellaneous EPA-Required Decals
There must be a label on trailers listing nine important checks to be made before towing. Cabins or other enclosed spaces may require a carbon monoxide warning, stating it can cause brain damage or death. Additionally, the label must include signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and the appropriate emergency action — to get fresh air. Boat decks must have a label stating: “Warning: Avoid personal injury. Stay inside deck rails (and gates) when boat is underway.” Flammable liquids must have a label in unventilated compartments stating: “Warning: No ventilation is provided. Fuel vapors are a fire and explosion hazard. Do not store fuel or flammable liquids here.”
Each of these strict signage specifications by the EPA are designed to keep consumers and the environment safe and can involve major repercussions for manufacturers, like fines or consumer death, if the label requirements are disregarded.