RVIA Sets New Formaldehyde Standards
For the second time in six months, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has tightened formaldehyde emissions standards in wood products used to build RVs.
RVIA’S board of directors, meeting March 1 during the association’s annual meeting at the Orchid Resort on the Big Island in Hawaii, unanimously voted to adopt proposed requirements by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), according to RV Business.
Those new limits will be more stringent than the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements for manufactured homes that RVIA adopted in September (effective Jan. 1) and, by most accounts, should better position the industry to deal with a national controversy over formaldehyde levels in tens of thousands of emergency living units built in 2005 and 2006 for Gulf Coast hurricane victims.
“We adopted the new CARB wood product emission standard ahead of California’s official establishment of the regulation to underscore our commitment to our customers and their ability to use our products with confidence,” RVIA President Richard Coon told members. “We also wanted to give our members ample time for planning to meet the implementation date.”
The Centers for Disease Control in February released results of tests for formaldehyde emissions in 519 travel trailers used for emergency housing by Gulf Coast residents after some complained of health concerns. About a third of the units tested for emissions higher than those found in a residential home, although there are no government standards for RVs.
Meeting the new CARB standard will be a requirement of RVIA membership, although the effective date won’t be set until the board’s June 12 meeting during RVIA Committee Week in Washington, D.C.
The CARB regulations establish a new formaldehyde emission standard in two phases for three composite wood products — hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF) — used to make RVs and other finished goods or products offered for sale in California. It’s expected that California will issue a final rule authorizing the new regulation this spring.
The first phase of the CARB wood products standard stipulates that veneer core and thin MDF meet an emission level of 0.08 parts per million by Jan. 1, 2009. Composite core materials must meet the same level by June 1, 2009. Fabricators, including RV manufacturers building products for sale in California — no matter where they are manufactured or assembled — will have until July 1, 2010, to convert to CARB-certified wood products.