Appalachian Hardwood Group: Laminates Come With Health Risks

In a new ad campaign, the trade group Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. is working to emphasize the ecological and environmental benefits of solid wood furnishings—especially compared with laminates, which the group argues are produced with dangerous chemicals.

What’s the difference between hardwood and laminate? According to one industry group, it comes down to the risk of chemicals.

Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. (AHMI), a trade group that represents wood manufacturers in the Appalachian region, is currently working to launch a new campaign that highlights the quality and environmental benefits of solid wood and the health risks that come with alternatives such as fiberboard, particleboard, and plywood.

“Glues found in laminate, bamboo floors, and engineered floors have been proven to leak carcinogenic formaldehyde into the air. These emissions can cause a bounty of unwanted health risks including nasal and lung cancer, nausea, and asthma,” the association explained in its February newsletter [PDF].

The campaign, which was revealed at AHMI’s annual meeting last week, targets homeowners who may not be aware of the environmental and sustainability benefits of using solid wood over bonded alternatives. To help drive home its points, the association has also launched a video ad:

“As the old saying goes. ‘you get what you pay for,’ which definitely rings true for Appalachian Hardwood,” AHMI’s producer division noted in comments to its newsletter. “Homes built with Appalachian Hardwood floors, moldings, or cabinets can last for generations compared to the short lifecycle that artificial woods and laminates deliver.”

Furniture Today‘s Thomas Russell noted, “The campaign occurs at a time when formaldehyde has been in the news in recent months due to various allegations that certain wood products in the marketplace—including furniture and flooring—have exceeded formaldehyde emissions limits set by the California Air Resources Board.”

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which tasked the Environmental Protection Agency with developing formaldehyde emissions limits for wood products. The EPA issued proposed rules in 2013 and says it expects to finalize those rules sometime this year.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!