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Compliance Best Practices Are Focus of 2024 Regulatory Summit

Furniture World News Desk on 3/28/2024

The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) will hold its annual Regulatory Summit August 7-8 at The Conference Center at Guilford Technical Community College in Colfax, North Carolina. AHFA’s Summit is the industry’s only educational event addressing regulatory and legislative issues that impact the home furnishings industry. With companies facing newly implemented and soon-to-be-implemented product safety and environmental regulations, AHFA has designated 2024 as the year of Compliance: Where the Rubber Meets the Road.

“Whether we are discussing product stability, formaldehyde emission limits or required import certificates, companies must have a clearly defined and effective compliance strategy,” says AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Perdue. “If your company has to demonstrate compliance to an enforcement official, that’s when the rubber really hits the road.”

The August program’s opening session, “A Tale of Two Audits,” features Christopher Kleine, vice president of logistics for Magnussen Home, and Matt Howsare, chair of the product safety practice at Cooley LLP in Washington, D.C. In February, Kleine had less than 24 hours’ notice to prepare for the arrival of a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) enforcement agent to Magnussen’s Ontario, California, warehouse and distribution facility. He says the value of his company’s AHFA membership came to the fore in a hurry as they prepared to demonstrate their compliance with the new federal stability standard for clothing storage units.

Kleine’s first-person account of the CPSC compliance audit – which Magnussen passed without issue – will be followed by Howsare’s overview of the mechanics of CPSC compliance audits, including recommended “next steps” in the case of a less successful audit in which non-compliance is discovered.

Another Summit session will look at this month’s deadline in the federal formaldehyde emissions standard for producers of laminated products.  Following seven years of exempt status, producers of laminated products are now subject to the testing, certification and recordkeeping requirements within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s formaldehyde standard for composite wood products – unless they have switched to a no-added formaldehyde or phenol resin glue. Despite workshops and webinars on compliance options, AHFA continues to receive inquiries about this regulation. Travis Snapp, president of Benchmark International and an authority on the formaldehyde emission standard, will tackle the most frequently asked questions.

Another long-time compliance issue that continues to challenge home furnishings executives is California’s Proposition 65. Amy Lally, the California attorney who helped negotiate the furniture industry’s “safe harbor” warning in 2016, will provide a labeling update for companies that ship products into California.

Additional topics on the August agenda include:

  • A review of the required General Certificate of Compliance for clothing storage furniture and the CPSC’s plans to require importers to file GCCs electronically beginning in 2025.
  • An update on the EPA’s risk assessment for formaldehyde and its implications for the furniture industry.
  • New testing to identify PFAS in textiles, along with insights into the EPA’s PFAS reporting rule and what’s next on the PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances) horizon.
  • An overview of industry efforts to work with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality on a new Toxic Pollutant Emission Rate for benzene emissions from wood-fired boilers – a critical issue for all domestic furniture operations in North Carolina.
  • An update on avoiding delays and penalties under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

Building on last year’s successful break-out sessions, the Summit program also includes opportunities for a deeper dive into focused topics, among them the status of revisions to the ASTM tip restraint standard, an update on the proposed new ASTM recliner safety standard and an overview of how environmental regulations are impacting packaging.

CPSC Commissioner Peter Feldman has been invited to address Summit attendees during the closing session on Wednesday, August 7. A “meet and greet” cocktail reception with the commissioner will conclude the first day of the Summit.

Information on sponsoring or exhibiting at the Summit is available from Mike Padjen, executive director of AHFA’s Solution Partners division (mpadjen@ahfa.us).

Summit registration includes a light breakfast and lunch both days, plus the cocktail reception on Wednesday, August 7. For those requiring overnight accommodations, a discounted group rate is available at the Springhill Suites by Marriott/Greensboro Airport.



About The American Home Furnishings Alliance
The American Home Furnishings Alliance, based in High Point, North Carolina, represents more than 200 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, plus about 150 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide.