NAMM supports resolution to the “background noise” realities of Prop 65 labeling requirements. NAMM is participating in the Coalition for Accurate Product Labels, with pending federal legislation outlining clear compliance and enforcement for product components.
March 31, 2021: NAMM Joins Over 120 Organizations Opposing Proposed Prop. 65 Amendments
On March 26, NAMM sent a letter in support of the comments filed by the California Chamber of Commerce on behalf of its members and over 120 national and regional organizations and businesses, stating that the current proposal to amend prop. 65 should be withdrawn pending further study and consultation with affected parties.
Specifically, NAMM believes that the proposed changes in the short form “safe harbor” disclosures will impose an undue burden on NAMM’s members who wish to utilize its protections from the increasing number of private plaintiff lawsuits and demands without providing a corresponding benefit to California consumers.
Many musical instruments and accessories do not have “labels” per se but are often sold with minimal packaging or may be accompanied by hang tags displayed at the point of sale. Any amendments should provide a more expansive definition of what constitutes a “label” for disclosure purposes.
The proposed five-square-inch limitation on label size is arbitrary and could easily lead to plaintiffs’ suits based solely on non-compliant label size. Any limitation on label size should be larger and easier to compute, e.g., an even number of square inches.
Elimination of the short form “safe harbor” from catalogs and internet websites will result in confusing disclosures, increase costs, and reduce available space for other consumer-facing information including product specifications, uses, warranty and care.
And, finally, a requirement to disclose at least one OEHHA listed substance on the short-form label will impose significant testing and research costs on distributors who import foreign-made musical instruments (of which there are thousands to choose from in the U.S.) and manufacturers who outsource components or parts to U.S. or offshore sources.
The public comment period for this regulatory action closed on March 29, 2021. NAMM will continue to carefully monitor this important issue and will post updates here.
Formaldehyde Emissions and CA Prop 65 Information and Resources
CA Prop 65
In 1986, California voters approved Proposition 65, an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. The law requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and for businesses with ten or more employees to provide warnings when they knowingly and intentionally cause significant exposures to listed chemicals. Penalties for violating Proposition 65 by failing to provide warnings can be as high as $2,500 per violation per day. Prop 65 also provides for enforcement "in the public interest" by private attorneys, who typically send a required 60-day notice to prospective violators and then seek to reach settlement agreements which usually include a monetary payment (shared by the lawyers and the state) and a correction of alleged labeling violations.
In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would regulate the amount of formaldehyde emissions from composite wood, such as hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard. Additionally, the proposed rule would regulate laminated wood products, impose more precise labeling on covered products and require compliance information to be passed down from manufacturer/importer through the distribution chain.
On December 12, 2016, EPA published a final rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde emissions from certain wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States. The rule regulates laminated wood products, imposes more precise labeling on covered products and requires compliance information to be passed down from manufacturer/importer through the distribution chain. Any musical instrument made of composite or laminate wood is impacted by the new regulations. In July of 2018, the EPA suppressed a draft health assessment on formaldehyde, suggesting that current regulations protecting the public from overexposure to formaldehyde might not be stringent enough to prevent increased risks of developing leukemia, nose and throat cancer, and other illnesses. NAMM will continue to monitor developments.
CARB2 - California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Phase 2. CARB2 stands for the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Phase 2, a stringent standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, including hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB), and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Composite wood products are panels made from pieces, chips, particles, or fibers of wood bonded together with a resin. In the production of laminate flooring, the core board is made up of medium to high-density fiberboard. This is where the emissions concerns come from.
Note: The formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products under the EPA final rule, and set by Congress, are identical to the California “Phase 2” formaldehyde emission standards (CARB2). EPA worked to align the other requirements of the federal rule with the California requirements. However, there are a few differences. Unlike the California requirements, among other things, the EPA rule:
- Requires records be kept for three years versus two years;
- Requires importers to provide import certification under TSCA beginning March 22, 2019;
- Requires manufacturers to disclose upon request formaldehyde testing results to their direct purchasers; and
- Requires laminated products not exempted from the definition of hardwood plywood to meet the hardwood plywood formaldehyde emissions standard beginning March 22, 2024.
Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulations. Manufacturers exporting musical instruments to the European Union (EU), or operating within the EU, should be aware of the REACH regulation. Effective June 1, 2007, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) reg (EC1907/2006) is regarded as the strictest in the world pertaining to chemicals (e.g., glues, resins, etc.) used in the manufacture of a wide variety of products. Learn more.
Understanding REACH Regulations
Compliance Guide for Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood for Fabricators and Laminated Product Producers
Formaldehyde Updates from the EPA
Manufacturer Frequently Asked Questions
Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products
Rule resources and guidance materials
EPA Fact Sheet
EPA FAQ and Regulations re Curved Plywood
Webinars for small entity compliance
Find an EPA-recognized Accreditation Body
Find an EPA-recognized Third-Party Certifier