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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

CARB’s enforcement protects California consumers from toxic formaldehyde emissions




SACRAMENTO – Following the record fine levied on Lumber Liquidators in 2016, the California Air Resources Board has continued to monitor the safety of consumer products like flooring and cabinets that use composite wood materials. As a result of this vigilance, CARB has settled 15 cases totaling more than $338,000 over the past two-and-a-half years with companies that failed to follow California’s clean air regulations for  composite wood materials in a variety of everyday household products.
Composite wood products are manufactured with glue, wood veneers, and wood byproducts to make them stronger. However, glues used in composite wood can also emit formaldehyde which is a toxic air contaminant that causes cancer. To protect public health, in 2007 CARB established strict emission standards for hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium density fiberboard. CARB’s regulation applies to all composite wood manufacturers, importers, fabricators, distributors, and retailers selling in the state, and requires that:
  • composite wood materials are produced in a mill that is third party certified;
  • efforts taken to ensure materials are compliant are documented; and
  • all products are labeled for compliance.
“CARB’s programs are designed to ensure that no child in school, and no resident of California, is exposed to toxic formaldehyde from composite wood flooring, furniture, and related products,” explains Todd Sax, Enforcement Division Chief. “Businesses must proactively verify that the product is compliant and document those efforts, label their product adequately as a compliant product, and notify their customers.  Anything less puts consumers at risk and businesses will be held accountable through enforcement action.”
CARB’s enforcement program includes both emissions testing and extensive audits of the compliance precautions taken. After settling the Lumber Liquidators case in 2016, CARB has settled 15 additional cases involving importers, distributors, and retailers of composite wood products. Most of these cases involved excess emissions and inadequate precautions to ensure compliant material was sold, including the sale of unlabeled product.
CARB enforcement efforts are continuing, focused on flooring, cabinetry, and any other furniture using composite wood products, and at manufacturers, distributors, and both brick and mortar and internet retailers.

Composite Wood Products Settlement Cases Since 2016

Investigation Name
Settlement Date
Settlement
Type of Business
Product Type
AAA Flooring and Building Supplies
3/24/2017
$27,750
Importer/ Distributor/Retailer
Flooring
USC Flooring  Products, Inc.
5/19/2017
$60,000
Importer/ Distributor/ Retailer
Flooring
Expo Floors
10/19/2017
$6,000
Importer/ Retailer
Flooring
Coles Fine Flooring
8/2/2018
$6,000
Retailer
Flooring
Rivera's Floor Covering
10/24/2018
$18,000
Retailer
Flooring
Factory Direct Floor
10/31/2018
$7,500
Importer/ Distributor
Flooring
Provenza Floors
12/6/2018
$26,000
Importer/Distributor
Flooring
Linco Enterprises, Inc.
1/9/2019
$45,000
Importer/ Distributor
Flooring
DJJ Cabinets
1/23/2019
$7,500
Importer/ Distributor/Retailer
Cabinets
America Top Essential Inc.
1/30/2019
$25,000
Importer/ Distributor
Flooring
ARK Floors
2/15/2019
$3,000
Importer/Distributor
Flooring
Belmont Carpets & Wood Flooring, Inc.
3/1/2019
$10,000
Retailer
Flooring
Design Within Reach
3/12/2019
$25,000
Importer/ Retailer
Furniture
CY Flooring, Incorporated
3/20/2019
$67,000
Importer/ Retailer
Flooring
PCTC Cabinetry Inc.
5/1/2019
$5,000
Importer/ Distributor
Cabinets

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