RESTON, Va. (Sept. 30, 2009) – The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) today announced its support for S.1660, legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate on September 11, 2009, by Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Crapo (R-ID) to adopt as a national standard the California Air Resources Board (CARB) controls on formaldehyde emissions from particleboard, hardwood plywood, and medium density fiberboard panels. Several other industry groups, the Sierra Club, steel workers union, and assorted housing organizations also support the bill. KCMA also supports efforts in Congress calling for the National Academy of Sciences to review the health effects of formaldehyde as they relate to the low levels of formaldehyde such as typically found in domestically manufactured cabinets.
Formaldehyde is one of the most studied chemicals in existence. It occurs naturally. It is contained in human breath. It is ubiquitous and is found at low levels in a myriad of useful and safe consumer products including medications, apparel, wood products and many others. Ingestion of food and water is a significant source of exposure to formaldehyde.
In 1985, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued regulations on composite wood panels used in manufactured housing. Since then, both the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) have reviewed composite wood formulations and found no basis to further regulate the formaldehyde content of those products. For years, many KCMA members have treated the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) workplace formaldehyde labeling level of 0.1 ppm as a de facto standard for cabinets even though the OSHA standard applies only to worker exposure and is lower than the formaldehyde composite wood levels allowed by HUD.
KCMA President Kevin O’Neill, Wellborn Cabinet, Inc., stated that, “Establishing a national standard requiring low-emitting composite wood will be well-received by the cabinet industry. The standards will be the lowest in the world. The KCMA’s Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) began recognizing CARB compliant materials eight months ago. There now are over 150 certified companies and brands in the program which are listed on the www.GreenCabinetSource.org
web site. For years, cabinet manufacturers have supported voluntary efforts by industry suppliers to provide affordable and safe low-emitting materials. Establishment of a national standard based on the extensive work by CARB, in which KCMA was actively involved, should help dispel misleading claims regarding the safety of composite wood panel products.”