I got an email from a potential customer yesterday asking if Talic uses materials that are Prop 65 compliant. She wanted to buy a set of our Woodlands Series, wood shelves for her kitchen. And because she was concerned for the health of herself and her family, her reference point was Prop 65.
Is Prop 65 Important?
Is Prop 65 important? Apparently, it is. I’ve come across several individuals recently who feel that California has the right idea and that we should all follow suit.
How it began was the result of a substantial outcry from Californians to create legislation that would help them to protect themselves from cancer-causing chemicals in their drinking water and the products they buy.
In 1986 California voters overwhelmingly voted to pass The Safe Water and Toxic Enforcement Act after which the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) was established to administer and enforce the new law. During the three decades of its existence, the list has gone through many changes based entirely on scientific data at the time. Some elements have been added, some were removed. Saccharin and methyl styrene are a couple of elements that have been removed entirely. In most cases, the limits of an element were either raised or lowered by a small amount.
Is the government looking out for you?
This is a great thing for the average citizen, having the government on their side. Anyone who is at all concerned can now simply look at a label and get an immediate answer to, “Is this baby formula safe?”, for example.
Since then, the whole nation, it seems, has adopted it as the de facto source for chemical limits in the quest to obtain a healthier lifestyle.
Having these labels on products have also had negative consequences. Simply the fact that a product has a Prop 65 label on it has compelled some consumers to put the item back on the store shelf and then purchase a lesser product just because it didn’t display the label.
What people don’t fully understand is that having a Prop 65 label doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a dangerous product. It simply means that there is cause for analysis. It’s okay to have small amounts of one element. Having many sources of that same element might not. It all depends on your particular situation.
How can lumber be unsafe?
Since all of our storage systems are made of wood we hadn’t felt that hazardous materials were an issue. Our lumber supplier wasn’t concerned so we weren’t either, that is, until yesterday. Suddenly, we felt an urgency to find out the answer to her question and to reassure ourselves that we were safe too.
Much to our surprise, we do work with a material that’s on the list. It was in our Birch plywood that we use in all of our wood shelves and kayak and canoe storage systems. The thin layers, called plies (hence the name plywood), are adhered together with a glue called Urea Resin. We’re not sure why, but this type of resin contains formaldehyde, a carcinogen, which is a cancer-causing agent. Scary for us, since we have been working with it for more than two decades.
When it was first written, Prop 65 stated that the allowable limit of formaldehyde in a product was 3 ppm. Then, it was later reduced to 1 ppm. Finally, in 2008 it was reduced even further to 0.75 ppm making it even safer for consumers.
Meanwhile, some studies conducted in other countries during that same time period concluded that there was no correlation.
After all our research, it turns out that Talic is indeed compliant! Talic’s Birch plywood has a “gas off” ranking of a mere .08 ppm. That is far below the maximum which is already considered very safe. And, the quantity of plywood in each product is also extremely small.
So, there really is nothing, chemical speaking, to deter you from purchasing any of our wood shelves or storage systems. Phew! Everybody can breathe a sigh of relief.