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Many states are either considering — or have already put into place — regulations that limit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). And there is more and more talk about a mandatory national standard. VOCs, in the form of solvents, have long been a basic ingredient in paints and finishes, particularly oil-base products. Since I work in California, a state that enacted VOC regulations three years ago, I've had a head start on learning to cope with the new regulations and the products they've spawned. It has been neither as disastrous nor as easy as you may have heard. What it has been is confusing and frustrating. Although I do paint somewhat differently than I used to because of the