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June 23, 2008
Washington, DC: In response to a petition from Sierra Club, 24 other organizations and more than 5,000 individuals representing every state in the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to conduct a four-part investigation of formaldehyde in our homes, schools and offices.
Exposure to formaldehyde can cause watery eyes, headaches, depression and cancer. People with existing respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema have an increased risk of reacting to formaldehyde, which can leach out from plywood, particleboard and fiberboard used in manufactured housing.
The investigation will include:
Becky Gillette, National Formaldehyde Campaign Director for the Sierra Club, said, "While disappointed that EPA set an improperly high standard to begin rulemaking, Sierra Club and the other petitioners applaud EPA’s alternative approach to addressing the challenge of formaldehyde. We will actively support and monitor EPA’s work on this important issue. For the health of all Americans, we need to move now."
Today’s decision accompanied a decision by EPA to extend nationally the tougher formaldehyde standards already in place in California. These more stringent standards dramatically reduce formaldehyde off-gassing from three types of composite wood products: hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium density fiberboard. These products are used in most furniture and wood building materials.
Visit www.sierraclub.org/toxics for more information.