Associations raise awareness on formaldehyde rule
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, September 2, 2013
HIGH POINT - The North American Home Furnishings Assn. and the American Home Furnishings Alliance are working to create awareness on the potential effects of recently proposed national formaldehyde rules.
The groups recently released a letter reaching out to the industry for support in influencing the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed national formaldehyde rule, known as 40 CFR Part 770.
The letter was signed by Sharron Bradley, CEO of the NAHFA, and Andy Counts, CEO of the AHFA. The groups said the EPA rule provides no environmental or health benefit regarding formaldehyde emissions but adds layers of cost, risk and recordkeeping to manufacturing, importing and retailing.
The proposed regulations were issued for public comment on June 10. The comment period for the national rule was recently extended to Oct. 9 for implementation provisions and to Sept. 25 for its outlined third party certification framework.
The AHFA and NAHFA letter said the rules "will significantly increase costs for retailers, manufacturers, and importers while providing NO environmental or health benefit. Action is needed now to influence the EPA before it is too late."
The letter said that while the home furnishings industry allied with groups to pass legislation nationalizing California's Air Resources Board rule which began implementation in 2009, the EPA has gone beyond its congressional mandate by requiring furniture manufacturers producing certified composite panels to recertify the component parts they use in manufacturing.
The California rule sets caps on emissions allowed from composite panel products that are commonly used in furniture.
The national rule extends coverage to laminators of panels. California's regulations don't require manufactures that laminate panel in-house to perform batch testing or third-party certification on composite panel, but put the onus on composite wood product producers.
The AHFA said last month that the EPA considered this a loophole in the California rule and attempted to close it by making furniture manufacturers subject to in-house quality control batch testing and quarterly third-party product type certification.
The groups said they have created a website that allows participants to send form letters to the EPA, congressional representatives and committee leadership. The website is at http://www.ahfa.us/advo-cacy.html.