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Submit Your Comments to the EPA on Formaldehyde
Photo: FEMA Trailer Storage

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, more than 141,000 families were placed into FEMA trailers with high formaldehyde levels caused by outgassing from wood products combined with poor ventilation. Many people became sick as a result.

The FEMA trailer problems exposed what has been an increasing problem in the U.S. caused by failure to regulate the amount of formaldehyde in wood products. In addition to FEMA trailers, formaldehyde can be a problem in any new home because of wood from building materials, in all homes from remodeling, or from new furniture, even children's furniture, made from composite wood products. If the wood underneath the finish looks like sawdust pressed/glued together it can be a problem.

You can now submit your comments to the EPA to tell them your thoughts on Formaldehyde Emissions from Pressed Wood Products.

Please use our talking points below to draft and submit your personalized comments. The Sierra Club will compile and deliver them before the March 10 deadline.

Talking points

Wood products that are low in formaldehyde are readily available and affordable. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted tough new standards to protect people from formaldehyde. The rest of the nation deserves the same protections. Please tell EPA to adopt the CARB standards for formaldehyde emissions from wood products.

 Studies by Environment California have shown that children’s furniture can release unsafe levels of formaldehyde.

 According to the CDC, people who have been exposed to formaldehyde may present a variety of symptoms. Formaldehyde can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs, resulting in itching, watery eyes, and cough. Some people may develop skin rashes. Others may experience difficulty in breathing. At-risk populations with underlying asthma or pulmonary disease may be more severely affected. People can smell formaldehyde when it is at very low levels, but they can also manifest symptoms even when they cannot smell the chemical. Exposure to formaldehyde can also cause cancer. 

EPA needs to move quickly to adopt rules requiring that all composite wood products used in the United States comply with the CARB standards to protect children and the public from formaldehyde. EPA needs to fulfill its public health responsibilities by preventing health problems with these rules. These rules will save us so much more in healthcare costs for years.


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