It is fundamentally important to recognize the difference between powder paint and liquid paint. As powder paint is applied, essentially 100% of the material being applied is paint. Liquid paint, by contrast, is composed of pigments, resins, antifoaming agents, and most importantly, solvents.
These solvents are called VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), i.e., acetone, benzene, dichloromethane, ethanol, methanol, and toluene. Solvents serve as carriers to allow the paint to flow, homogenize and dry. It’s in the drying process that solvents separate from the solids. The solvents must be contained and controlled such that less than 1% can escape to the atmosphere. Capture, control and containment of 99+% of solvent vapors is a very costly and environmentally problematic issue.
Federal, state, and local regulations severely limit the volume of VOCs released into the atmosphere and all liquid paint applicators are monitored regularly. Non-compliance can threaten the business. Powder coatings have NO VOCs, hence dry paint.