Wood Furniture Manufacturing

Contact: Clean Air Assistance Program, 800-662-9278
Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Picture of man with a wood chair

The Clean Air Act as amended in 1990 (CAA) directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to regulate emissions of 188 toxic chemicals (hazardous air pollutants or HAPs) from a wide range of industrial sources by establishing National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). The NESHAP is a national standard that applies to facilities that are engaged in, either in part or in whole, the manufacture of wood furniture or wood furniture components. Examples of wood furniture components include (but are not limited to) drawer sides, cabinet doors, and laminated tops.

Wood is coated to protect it from physical and chemical damage, and natural degradation, as well as to impart an aesthetically pleasing finish. Surface coating of wood furniture was listed as a source category to be regulated under the CAA because the materials traditionally used by the furniture industry contain a substantial quantity of solvents that volatilize to the air within the plant and/or are directly vented to the outside, usually without treatment. Many of the coatings, adhesives, and solvents used in the wood furniture industry contain toxic chemicals such as toluene, xylene, methanol, methyl ethyl ketone, glycol ethers, and formaldehyde.

Wood furniture manufacturers are the largest industrial users of solvents in paints and coatings among original equipment manufacturers in the United States, using over twice as much solvents as automobile manufacturers. Exposure to these and other air toxics associated with wood furniture manufacturing can cause adverse health effects, including eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation; damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys; and reproductive effects.

Requirements for the wood furniture manufacturing industry are monitored and enforced by each district office of the Air Quality Division, Michigan Department of Environ, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Technical Assistance Resources

Notification Report Form

  • Initial Notification Letter: A cover letter that the Air Quality Division sent out to facilities believed to be subject to the NESHAP for wood furniture manufacturing operations (July 2, 1995).
  • Initial Notification Report: Use this form to comply with the notification requirement of the NESHAP for wood furniture manufacturing operations (June 1996).