Green Chemistry and Design Formaldehyde and HBCD in Building Products Project
The intent of this project is to demonstrate the extent to which state grant support can stimulate green chemistry and design projects in the private sector.
This web page will serve as a clearinghouse for updates on the implementation of this project and for other information supporting or generated by this project.
MPCA staff thanks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pollution Prevention Program for its grant that supported this project.
Use of Formaldehyde and HBCD in Minnesota
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has signed a contract with the Stratford Companies to work with the MPCA to assess the presence and use of formaldehyde and Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in Minnesota’s composite and fabricated wood building and furnishing products by manufacturers, architects, engineers and contractors (the value chain).
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. The U.S. EPA has included hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in their Chemicals Action Plans, which summarize available hazard, exposure, and use information on chemicals; outline the risks that each chemical may present; and identify the specific steps the Agency is taking to address those concerns. HBCD is used in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) in the building and construction industry and is highly toxic to aquatic organisms. It also presents human health concerns based on animal test results indicating potential reproductive, developmental and neurological effects.
Using criteria established in the 2009 Minnesota Toxic Free Kids Act, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) listed formaldehyde and HBCD as Priority Chemicals not because of their 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 hbcd and their 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. For formaldehyde, 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. For HBCD, the focus will be on Minnesota companies in the building and construction industry involved with its most common uses, such as in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) and extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) produced for insulation, as well as in textile backcoatings for nylon products such as institutional carpet tiles.
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 HBCD 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
MPCA contact: Mark Snyder, 651-215-0222