The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) recently submitted commentary to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed regulations of formaldehyde in composite wood products. Specifically, the NWFA responded to concerns regarding new or expanded regulation covering producers of lumber core, veneer core, and bamboo flooring, as well as regulation of third-party certifiers.
An industry-wide task force of wood flooring industry leaders representing both domestic and international businesses was assembled through the NWFA’s Government Relations committee to prepare a balanced perspective representative of the membership’s diversity.
“Wood is naturally produced, lasts for centuries, and is biodegradable,” explained Dan Natkin, director, wood & laminate, Mannington Mills, based in Salem, N.J., and chairman of the NWFA Government Relations committee. “It is one of the most environmentally positive building products available to consumers and is prized for its healthy contributions to our homes and offices. Yet despite all of these positive environmental qualities, the proposed EPA regulations could result in a toxic label on some of the flooring industry’s most sustainable products. The unintended consequences from these regulations could be significant decreases in the marketability of all types of engineered wood flooring, bamboo flooring, and laminate flooring, as well as leading to a further commoditization of the market.”
NWFA voiced concern over proposed regulations in four areas:
1. The significant deviation from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) program
2. A short timeframe to become a certified company
3. The lack of protection of confidential business information
4. The inclusion of downstream fabricators who would absorb a double certification burden
“While the NWFA appreciates the EPA’s desire to protect the public health, our desire is to see the regulations structured in such a way that prevents unnecessary burdens on an industry still recovering economically,” explained Elizabeth Baldwin, environmental compliance officer, Metropolitan Hardwood Floors, Kent, Wash., who spearheaded the task force. “The task force felt very strongly that any expansion beyond CARB must be investigated further and urged the EPA to adopt regulations that closely mirror that existing program.”
“In addition to our own committee and task force work to understand and digest the impact of these regulations, NWFA also participated with the Federal Wood Industry Coalition (FWIC), a group of wood products industry associations to submit comments on the proposed regulation,” said Michael Martin, NWFA President & CEO.
Find resources including links the EPA proposed regulations, NWFA’s responses, and the FWIC letter to the EPA here: http://www.nwfa.org/epa-formaldehyde.aspx.