Friday, December 14, 2007
THE RVIA AND FORMALDEHYDE
RESTON, Va. - The RVIA Board of Directors clarified their position regarding formaldehyde emission levels for all plywood and particleboard raw materials and finished products (“applicable wood products”) during their November 14, 2007 telephone conference call meeting. The Board confirmed that all applicable wood products used in RVs must not exceed maximum formaldehyde emission levels of .2 ppm for plywood and .3 ppm for particleboard.
Consequently, for purposes of complying with the RVIA membership program requirements regarding formaldehyde emission levels in applicable wood products, the RVIA Standards Steering Committee (SSC), during their December 11, 2007 meeting, passed and adopted the following inspection policy:
(1) For all plywood and particleboard raw materials, RVIA inspectors must be able to physically observe either –
(a) Individual stamping or labeling on panels that makes it clear that the wood does not exceed the maximum formaldehyde emission level permitted (.2 ppm for plywood and .3 ppm for particleboard); or
(b) Bundle marking that makes it clear that the wood does not exceed the maximum formaldehyde emission level permitted (.2 ppm for plywood and .3 ppm for particleboard);
(2) In addition, for all applicable wood products (including both raw materials and finished products) --
Members must make available to RVIA inspectors letters or written statements from the suppliers or distributors of the applicable wood products. These letters or written statements must make it clear that the wood provided does not exceed the maximum permitted formaldehyde emission levels (.2 ppm for plywood and .3 ppm for particleboard) in accordance with either ASTM 1333-96 (2002) or ASTM D 5582-00 (2006) testing, or comparable. Acceptable documentation includes letters or written statements from given suppliers that blanket cover all product shipments from that supplier, or individual letters or written statements that accompany each separate product shipment.
Deviations or non-compliance will be rated as a class C for RVIA program inspections.
Additionally, the BOD confirmed that it did not adopt the manufactured housing notice as addressed by HUD 3280.309 as a membership requirement. Therefore, the notice is not required by RVIA to be placed within the RV or in the owner’s manual.
ISN'T THIS HAPPENING A LITTLE LATE?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Air-quality tests on the government-issued trailers housing thousands of Gulf Coast hurricane victims are scheduled to begin by next Wednesday, nearly two months after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) postponed them.
The Associated Press reported that Harvey Johnson, FEMA's deputy administrator, disclosed the agency's latest plans for the tests during a hearing Wednesday (Dec. 12) in Washington before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Senators pressed Johnson to explain the delays in testing 500 occupied trailers in Mississippi and Louisiana, where tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
"It's taken a long time in part because we have not had this problem before," Johnson said. "This is the first time we've had people be in travel trailers for this length of time — up to two years — in which case some of these symptoms and the impacts on health have become more apparent."
Officials from FEMA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were expected to outline the new testing plans Thursday at news conferences in New Orleans and Washington.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the homeland security committee, said he is pleased that FEMA is beginning the tests "after much delay."
"Given the importance of ensuring the health and safety of those living in trailers supplied by FEMA, it is disappointing and embarrassing that (it) has taken FEMA so long to get to this critical point," he said in a statement.
On Nov. 2, CDC scientists were scheduled to start testing FEMA trailers in Mississippi for levels of formaldehyde. FEMA postponed the tests, however, saying the agency needed more time to prepare.
Many trailer occupants are blaming ailments on formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory problems.
Hundreds of trailer occupants in Mississippi and Louisiana have sued some of the companies that made the units for FEMA after hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated parts of the Gulf Coast more than two years ago.
On Nov. 29, a federal judge in New Orleans ordered FEMA and its top administrator, R. David Paulison, to submit a "detailed plan" for testing the trailers for formaldehyde levels.
Paulison and CDC director Julie Gerberding are scheduled to discuss those testing plans Thursday at the press briefing in Washington.
FEMA has temporarily suspended the sale of its used trailers and says the units won't be used to shelter victims of future disasters until the health concerns are resolved. In the meantime, the agency has moved hundreds of Gulf Coast families out of trailers and into apartments, hotel rooms or other temporary housing.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said, "If these trailers are found to be dangerous and people should not be living in them, then the government is required to come up with an alternate plan for people to find more long-term, comfortable arrangements."