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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Green Chemistry and Design Formaldehyde in Building Products Project

Green Chemistry and Design Formaldehyde in Building Products Project

Formaldehyde is monitored and regulated by a number of local, state, national and international agencies and organizations. It is pervasive, causes eye and respiratory effects including asthma, and is carcinogenic. Using criteria established in the 2009 Minnesota Toxic Free Kids Act, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) listed formaldehyde as a Priority Chemical not because of its direct use or presence in children's products but because of children's exposure (especially indoors) through other products, primarily building materials. MPCA will conduct a project on formaldehyde and its use in Minnesota building products and other manufacturing. The agency will approach this project in phases. Phase 1 of this project will consist of outreach to survey use. Minnesota sites producing composite products and reporting formaldehyde releases could be early partners for assessing current conditions and opportunities. This phase will also focus on Minnesota companies purchasing composite wood products from out-of-state for incorporation into fabricated wood products. With these types of companies, there will also be significant research needed to inventory possible formaldehyde presence in glues, finishes and fabrics. A focus on building materials would bridge to other plastics and elastomers (e.g., wire sheathing, piping, wall coverings and fabrics) possibly involving formaldehyde, but also bringing in the co-benefit of investigating the presence and alternatives for other MDH-listed Priority Chemicals. Minnesota has a significant number of companies using or manufacturing plastics, elastomers and resins, as well as a large number of companies producing various types of packaging which incorporate coatings and laminations using various plastics-related materials containing or produced with formaldehyde and many of the other Minnesota Priority Chemicals. If findings deem further action appropriate, consideration will be made for: Phase 2: Outreach and assistance Phase 3: Support and evaluation


Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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