It’s a victory for the U.S. woodworking industry as The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act goes before President Barack Obama for signature into law.

The bill passed the House June 23, days after the Senate gave its approval. Congress is to be commended for its quick action on this bill, which from the beginning has had the support of a number of industry, environmental, health and labor organizations, including the Composite Panel Assn. (CPA), the American Home Furnishings Alliance, the American Forest & Paper Assn., Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn., the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Assn., APA-The Engineered Wood Assn., the International Wood Products Assn. (IWPA), The Sierra Club and the National Center for Healthy Housing.

By approving this bill, Congress has leveled the playing field with regard to products sold and distributed throughout the United States that contain particleboard, MDF and hardwood plywood, including cabinets, furniture, closet systems, flooring and other secondary wood products. The legislation directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national standard for formaldehyde that meets the emission ceilings set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), as well as incorporating labeling and third-party testing. The EPA will promulgate implementing regulations Jan. 1, 2013, and the regulations become effective 180 days after that date.

First introduced last fall by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID, the bill was brought before the House by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI).

“The legislation represents a responsible, bipartisan approach to advancing consumer protection, fair trade and domestic jobs,” said Tom Julia, CPA president. “[It] will also encourage the development of lower emitting adhesive technologies and establish a transparent chain of custody for purposes of enforcement. Manufacturer quality assurance requirements and third-party testing and certification of panel products will give consumers the highest confidence in the composite wood products they purchase, regardless of where in the world they are manufactured.”

“Our members are meeting and exceeding the emission regulations already in place in the state of California. They welcome a nationwide standard to provide uniformity and predictability to the marketplace,” said Brent McClendon, executive vice president of the IWPA.

I applaud Congress for passing this legislation. It requires “fair play” among domestic and imported manufacturers, plus it results in a greener environment both in the home and workplace.

Read more

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.