California air regulators approved strict regulations Thursday for aerosol air fresheners, paint thinners and solvents as a way to lessen smog-forming emissions and reduce a health threat.

The state Air Resources Board voted 8-0 to ban the sale of products that emit high levels of so-called volatile organic compounds. The rules are the toughest state mandate in the nation and will take effect Dec. 31, 2013.

Under the regulation, paint thinners and solvents could not contain more than 30 percent of their weight in volatile organic compounds by 2010. The industry would have another three years to get to the tougher standard of 3 percent.

Air fresheners could contain just 20 percent of the compounds by 2012.

Doug Raymond, a consultant representing WM Barr & Co., a major supplier of solvents and paint thinners, said the requirements will force manufacturers to use acetone, which is highly flammable.

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