US EPA to study formaldehyde health risks

23 June 2008 22:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not adopt a California formaldehyde emissions regulation as sought by environmental groups but will study the potential health risks of the chemical in wood products, the agency said on Monday.

The Sierra Club and other groups had petitioned the agency to adopt nationally tougher formaldehyde standards that are already in place in California.

The California standards were aimed at reducing formaldehyde off-gassing from three types of composite wood products: hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium density fibreboard, said the Sierra Club, which filed the petition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA).

These products are used in most furniture and wood building materials. 

The EPA said it would develop risk assessments on the potential adverse health effects, evaluate the costs and benefits of possible control technologies and approaches and determine whether agency action is needed to address any identified risks.

The EPA would investigate whether and what type of regulatory or other action might be appropriate to protect against health risks posed by formaldehyde emitted from pressed wood products and begin an external peer review on formaldehyde’s cancer and other health risks, the Sierra Club said.

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By: Brian Ford
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