The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act bill was passed last month, incorporating aspects of the California formaldehyde standard. According to a report in Furniture Today, California has already begun enforcing the standard, even though an extension was granted through Dec. 31, 2010.
The regulation applies to hardwood, plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard and directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish implementation, testing and compliance provisions for the standard that can be implemented on a national level.
Formaldehyde is used in binding of wood products such as veneer, plywood and engineered materials, and is often associated with "new-car smell." It is also a well-known carcinogen and is highly toxic, having been linked to respiratory ailments and throat cancer.
"While we have made steady, incremental achievements, compliance challenges remain with the California standard, and we will work with EPA to address those same challenges in the new federal standard," notes AHFA Vice President Bill Perdue. "The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) has already begun to provide relevant input and data to the EPA, and we will continue working closely with agency staff in an effort to ensure that key industry concerns are addressed."
The unprecedented economic conditions in the last few years have left manufacturers with higher than normal inventories, exacerbating the potential problem for companies with non-compliant products.
"AHFA has requested a sell-through period of 36 months for finished goods following the compliance deadline for composite wood products," Perdue states. "If raw board component parts are properly regulated, downstream users of these products, including home furnishings manufacturers and retailers, eventually will have only compliant products in their inventories," says Perdue.