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From Home Furnishing Business

AHFA, other associations set formaldehyde emissions workshop

The American Home Furnishings Alliance has joined forces with two other trade associations to stage an all-industry workshop Jan. 18-19 to help companies navigate the recently released compliance rules for the federal formaldehyde emissions standard.

The workshop will be held at The Conference Center at Guilford Technical Community College, located off Interstate 40 on NC Highway 68, about seven miles from Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C.

The AHFA has partnered with the International Wood Products Assn. and the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Assn. for the event.

“Members of AHFA, IWPA and KCMA have been at the forefront of formaldehyde emissions regulation for years – first with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and, more recently, with EPA,” said AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Perdue. “There are differences between the CARB rule and the federal rule, and we all agreed a joint industry workshop was needed to help our members understand those nuances.”

In July, the EPA issued its final rule to regulate formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products used as component parts in finished goods sold in the United States. The rule, which added Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act, impacts both domestic and imported finished goods.

“All suppliers of composite wood products need to move quickly to be ready for the roll-out of the new EPA regulations and the new TSCA import certification. Attending this event will help firms jumpstart that process,” noted IWPA Executive Director Cindy Squires.

Providing an overview of the federal rule will be Erik Winchester of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, which was responsible for drafting the federal rule and its implementation guidelines.

Additional confirmed presenters for the two-day workshop include Jackson Morrill, president of the Composite Panel Association, who will address the North American structure for accreditation bodies and third-party certifiers; Travis Snapp, founder and president of Benchmark International, covering the international structure for accreditation bodies and third-party certifiers; Michael Sullivan and Whitney Passmore of  the law firm Womble Carlyle, explaining Section 770.3 labeling, including developing and implementing a system for demonstrating compliance for fabricators, importers, distributors and retailers; Lauren Hopkins and Mark Duvall, Beveridge and Diamond PC, addressing the development and implementation of measures to demonstrate compliance with the TSCA import certification; and Jill Witter, secretary and chief compliance and legal officer of Lumber Liquidators, who will describe the public firestorm that erupted in 2015 after her company was featured on “60 Minutes,” and how that affected the company’s documentation, testing and compliance structure.

In addition, the sponsoring associations are assembling a panel of resin suppliers to discuss no-added-formaldehyde and phenol formaldehyde resins. Lynn Baker of the California Air Resources Board also has been invited to discuss the similarities and differences between the CARB and EPA rules.

Eugene, Ore.-based Benchmark International is a sponsor of the Joint Industry Workshop. The accredited, independent laboratory provides inspections, testing and certification services for wood, concrete and steel products.

“This is an opportunity for regulatory officials to educate a large and diverse supply chain,” Perdue stated. “Interested industry executives are urged to sign up early to ensure a seat.”

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