Hooker Furniture: Understanding the CA Proposition 65 Warning
March 27, 2013 | 8:19 pm UTC

A small amount of wood dust, brass, PVC or other elements on furniture and household items might seem trivial to many. The state of California, however, has taken the issue of ingredients in consumer products to a whole new level with its Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, known as "Proposition 65."

Originally, the proposition was intended to protect drinking water sources from chemical contamination. Over the years, however, the scope of the law has exploded. As the Los Angeles Times wrote recently, "Warnings (about Proposition 65) are everywhere: parking lots, hardware stores, hospitals and just about any decent-sized business."

Proposition 65 requires warning labels on products that may contain any of 800-plus chemicals or ingredients that the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) lists as a carcinogen or a reproductive toxicant. These include wood dust, brass and a multitude of other everyday elements. A flame retardant upholstery chemical currently required by the state of California to be added to upholstered furniture foams to make them less likely to catch fire is now included among chemicals that require a warning under Proposition 65.

Many of the elements listed under Proposition 65 are common everyday additives found in products such as jewelry, lamps, ceramic tableware, lead crystal glasses, electric cords, automobiles, beauty products and furniture.

Because there is always a chance that wood dust or some other of the hundreds of ingredients listed in Proposition 65 could potentially be on our furniture or packing materials, we must include Proposition 65 warnings on our products or risk large fines under this law in California. In addition, we are required to use the exact wording for this warning specified by California: "This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm."

We realize that this warning sounds very alarming. However, we want to reassure you based on the findings of reliable research. While there is research that supports health-related risks due to wood dust, this research also finds that the key factor in determining the health risk is the amount of exposure to wood dust. These hazardous exposure limits are found in the workplace when wood is being sawed or sanded. This hazardous amount of wood dust has not been found on Hooker Furniture being shipped to our retailers and customers.

Ideally, we would have placed these Hooker Furniture warnings only on our furniture products being shipped to California. However, Hooker Furniture, like most furniture companies, builds products in large quantities for stock. At the time of production, we rarely know where each item will ship. We have no alternative except to place these warnings on all of our furniture, whether it ends up in California or not. It is also important for all retailers to leave the warning on the furniture when they are shipping to people in California.

The safety of our customers and our employees is of highest priority for Hooker Furniture. We want to assure you of our 89-year commitment to offering among the highest quality and safest products in the industry.

As you see from the accompanying graphic, we have received recognition and awards for our compliance with environmental and safety regulations and have always abided by state and federal regulations. While there may be different opinions about California label requirements with this California law, Hooker Furniture must honor these compliance regulations.

Most importantly, we promise to also honor the trust you have placed in us with your purchase or possible purchase of our products. We will honor your trust by offering furniture of enduring quality, lasting beauty and uncompromising safety to you and your family.

Hooker Furniture wants to keep you informed with our commitment to making the best quality and compliant furniture. A resource to learn more about Prop 65 and other compliance related issues can be found on the Hooker Furniture website at www.hookerfurniture.com/compliance.

Source: Hooker Furniture

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