Steps Manufacturers Should Take to Ensure Their Laminate Flooring is Free from Formaldehyde

The 60-Minutes investigation of Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring products has focused attention on possible violations of the California Air Resources Board ATCM on Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood (CARB ATCM). The investigation alleged that the Chinese suppliers of these products were using composite wood cores with high formaldehyde emissions and knowingly mislabeled boxes of laminate flooring with these cores as CARB ATCM Phase 2 compliant. There have been no official announcements by CARB of enforcement actions against Lumber Liquidators. And, there is no national regulation on formaldehyde emissions from composite woods at this time. Nevertheless, the damage to Lumber Liquidators’ market capitalization has been substantial. Continue reading

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Quality Control

Manufacturers who make self-declared claims regarding the environmental performance of their products or who engage third-party certifiers to support their claims should follow the principles of ISO Standard 14021. These requirements specify that such claims be: based on scientific evidence; accurate; verifiable; and updated if circumstances alter their accuracy. In essence, the standard requires that a manufacturing quality system be in place to support the claim. Most manufacturers have well developed quality systems, but these may not extend to chemical attributes, particularly for non-formulated products such as flooring and furniture. Continue reading

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California Safer Consumer Products Regulation – Chemicals of Concern

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has now released the formal draft of the new Safer Consumer Products regulation. The release initiates a 45-day public comment period. DTSC must receive written comments by COB September 11, 2012. Oral arguments may be presented at a DTSC public hearing scheduled for September 10 in Sacramento, CA. The text of the proposed regulation and all of the supporting information are available on the Green Chemistry page of the DTSC website. Continue reading

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New California Prop 65 developments may impact building products & furniture manufacturers

California OEHHA (Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment) is the lead government agency charged with implementing Proposition 65, CA’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Prop 65 requires the publication of a list of chemicals “known to the state” to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Under Prop 65, “significant exposure” to any of the listed chemical substances resulting from a manufactured product requires that a warning label be placed on the product if it is sold in California. For some of the substances, Safe Harbor Levels have been developed defining significant exposures. In the absence of a Safe Harbor Level, a manufacturer whose product contains a listed substance is advised to perform a risk assessment to determine if there is potential for significant exposure. Continue reading

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Safer Consumer Product Regulation Includes European REACH

The California Department of Toxic Substances’ (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products regulations went into effect on October 1, 2013. These regulations require manufacturers to seek alternative safer chemical ingredients in widely used consumer products. DTSC kicked off the program by publishing an informational list of Candidate Chemicals. By April 1 of next year, it will identify a list of proposed Priority Products. The Candidate Chemicals list is the subject of this post. The inclusion of REACH and other major European programs as authoritative bodies for the identification of hazardous chemicals on the list likely will be of interest to US manufacturers. Continue reading

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