Formaldehyde, the Next Targeted Chemical

By April 29, 2009Regulations

A Senate Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday held a hearing on formaldehyde in textiles and consumer products, and we have two posts — a preview and a review –over at the Point of Law blog.

Judging from yesterday’s testimony, it sure looks like the trial lawyer/”consumer activist”/pro-regulation political machinery is gearing up to turn formaldehyde into the latest phthalates or BPA, and in the process we could wind up with another sledge-hammer, jobs-killing bill like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. (Not to deny that formaldehyde is a dangerous chemical that requires careful handling.)

So to set a solid foundation for future policy debates, we’ll just offer this summary from the testimony of Dr. Phillip J. Wakelyn of Wakelyn Associates, LLC (who has worked for the cotton industry):

There have been no valid safety related problems raised in the US concerning the low levels of formaldehyde on clothing and textiles. In view of all the studies over the last 30 years indicting that there is not a formaldehyde problem with US textiles products and regulations already in place concerning formaldehyde and textiles, no new regulations are necessary. Because the evidence is so strong that formaldehyde in textiles does not pose a problem to consumers, there is no need for legislative or regulatory action concerning formaldehyde and textiles unless the results of the GAO study, required by Section 234 of the CPSIA which became law August 14, 2008, indicate that action is necessary.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • […] In a post yesterday we observed that formaldehyde was becoming the latest target of the alliance of trial lawyers, “consumer activists” and members of Congress out to demonize a widely used chemical for pecuniary and political purposes. This week a Senate Commerce subcommittee held a hearing on formaldehyde in textiles and consumer products, coinciding with a recent scare — and lawsuits, of course — over supposedly contaminated Victoria’s Secret bras. […]

Leave a Reply