BIFMA Approves Emission Standards

October 27, 2005
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In a recent ballot, members of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) voted to approve proposals for new standards and test methods for office furniture emissions.

The result of 15 months of work by the BIFMA Furniture Emissions Subcommittee and Jensen Zhang of Syracuse University, one of the leading scientists in the measurement of volatile organic compounds, the proposed changes await public review through the ANSI Canvass part of the development cycle.

BIFMA is also accepting suggestions from those interested in participating in the canvass activity, and urges anyone wishing to participate to contact Dick Driscoll or Roxanne DeBoer at its Grand Rapids headquarters, (616) 285-3963.

The two-part document is available on BIFMA’s Web site,, for download and review. The first is entitled BSR/BIFMA M7.1-2005: Standard Test Method for Determining VOC Emissions from Office Furniture Systems, Components, and Seating. The second is called BSR/BIFMA X7.1-2005: Standard for Formaldehyde and TVOC Emissions of Low-emitting Office Furniture Systems and Seating.

BIFMA also recently partnered with the Composite Panel Association (CPA) and the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) to host a formaldehyde workshop in Chicago. In 2004, IARC (part of the World Health Organization) ruled that the common chemical formaldehyde was a carcinogen. The chemical is used in the production process of resins used as adhesives and binders in the timber and paper industries, and in the production of plastics and coatings used for textile finishing. It is also used to manufacture industrial chemicals and as a disinfectant and preservative.

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