Front page Sunday Los Angeles Times, Oct 8_06

U.S. Rules Allow the Sale of Products Others Ban

Chemical-laden goods outlawed in Europe and Japan are permitted in the American market.

Oakland – Destined for American kitchens, planks of birch and poplar plywood are stacked to the ceiling of a cavernous port warehouse. The wood which arrived in California via a cargo ship, carries two labels: One proclaims “ Made in China, “ while the other warns that it contains formaldehyde, a cancer causing chemical.
Because formaldehyde wafts off the glues in this plywood, it is illegal to sell in many countries - even the one where it originated, China. But in the United States this wood is legal, and is routinely crafted into cabinets and furniture.

Pg A26…

Last year alone China exported to the United States more than half a billion dollars’ worth of plywood hardwood – enough to build cabinets for 2 million kitchens…

One birch plank from China bought at Home depot in Portland, gave off 100 times more formaldehyde than legal in Japan and 30 times more than allowed in Europe and China…

Formaldehyde exposure has been shown in human studies to cause nose and throat cancer and possibly leukemia, as well as allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches and sore throats.

With no government standards, monitoring or labeling, U.S. consumers cannot easily identify chemical-free products