Two Western wood products organizations are assisting their members and the industry in preparing to meet requirements under California’s Proposition 65 law to post consumer and employee warnings regarding “wood dust.”

The Western Wood Products Association (WWPA), headquartered in Portland, Ore., and the Lumber Association of California and Nevada (LACN) are jointly developing signage and other information to meet the requirements of the addition of “wood dust” to the list of chemicals and substances the State of California has listed as causing cancer or birth defects.

The two organizations have been meeting with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the California Attorney General’s office to clarify the recommendations and requirements for communicating the wood dust warnings.

“Wood dust” was added to the list of more than 800 chemicals and other substances on the Proposition 65 list in December, 2009, despite disagreement from many that “wood dust” is too vague to be defined and is already listed under state and federal EPA standards, according to a press release issues by both associations.

The final rule goes into effect on December 18, 2010.

Both LACN and WWPA will have signage and other materials for mills and lumber manufacturers to include with their products, and detailed information for retail dealers on warning posting recommendations and other information will be available. The recommended signage will note that “cutting, drilling, sanding or machining wood products” could create potential exposure to wood dust, which the State of California has defined as potentially carcinogenic.

“This is an example of the wood products and lumber industry working together from the sawmills and manufacturers to the retail lumber and wood products dealers to meet the specific requirements in the California law,” says Frank Stewart, WWPA product support services manager. “The fact that we came in as a unified industry on this issue made it easier to work with the state agencies.”

LACN executive director Ken Dunham noted this is a complex issue in that a significant amount of wood products and lumber come into California and those selling the products in the state must meet its laws.

“We’re confident we can help both those selling into California from outside the state borders and those who sell the products in the state.” Dunham says.

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