WASHINGTON -- Ten wood-related industry associations have joined together, requesting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider some of the information it plans as the basis of its toxicolgial review of formaldehyde inhalation.

The letter was sent on August 31 by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) to Rebecca Clark, acting director of the  National Center for Environmental Assessment, U.S. EPA. In addition to the AF&PA, the letter expresses the opinions of  the American Home Furnishings Alliance, American Institute of Timber Construction, American Plywood Association, American Wood Council, Composite Panel Association, Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America and the Virginia Forest Products Association.
"We strongly support the American Chemistry Council’s Formaldehyde Panel’s submitted comments on the draft assessment," the letter states. "Those comments present in detail major scientific and policy concerns, including the draft’s falling far short of meeting the Office Management and Budget’s Information Quality Act guidelines as well as the agency’s own specific guidelines. Among some of the serious deficiencies of the current draft assessment is its failure to consider the best available science, failure to use a sound weight-of-the evidence approach, and a lack of transparency and objectivity.

"Our members are actively committed to protecting human health and the environment. The industry supported the recently enacted legislation to establish national formaldehyde emission standards for composite panel products based on California’s standards. In fact, U.S. industry is already meeting those standards, which are the toughest in the world. However, we are troubled that a scientifically flawed formaldehyde assessment could cause needless concern among users of formaldehyde-based wood products, as well as unwarranted environmental concerns."

Of major concern to the association's is EPA's reliance on the a pair of epidemiologic studies.  "The (EPA's) draft assessment concludes that a causal association exists between formaldehyde exposure and all leukemias and lymphohematopoietic cancer as a group, based on two studies (Hauptmann et al. 2003; Beane-Freeman et al; 2009). As discussed in the Panel’s comments, critical scientific issues have been raised with regard to the two studies." For example, the letter notes, "The absence of scientific consensus on any plausible mode of action by which formaldehyde could conceivably cause these malignancies."

Read the American Forest & Paper Association's letter.

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