WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new safeguard that will help limit dangerous formaldehyde emissions that come from the manufacturing of wood products. Formaldehyde is used in adhesives to make building materials and products, and exposure to the chemical can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, other respiratory symptoms and, in certain cases, cancer.

The law directing EPA to instate the safeguard was passed by Congress in 2010 with widespread support from industry, especially the Composite Panel Association, and bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate.

In response, Becky Gillette, Sierra Club’s Volunteer Formaldehyde Campaign Director, released the following statement:

"Today, the EPA took a significant step forward in its efforts to protect Americans from a toxic chemical that sometimes makes its way into our homes through wood products -- formaldehyde.

"This protection will benefit all Americans since these wood products -- commonly known as particle board or pressed wood -- are used in thousands of products such as furniture, cabinets and flooring.

"The Sierra Club thanks Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Crapo and Representative Doris Matsui for their vital support of this important public health issue, as well as the California Air Resources Board for leading the way with its innovative, market-based approach to solving a complex problem.

"The Sierra Club urges the EPA to move forward quickly to finalize this long overdue protection as well as the rule ensuring that imported wood complies with the standards, since it is not clear that overseas producers are as prepared to protect families and consumers from formaldehyde."

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