Vinyl Industry Grapples with Proposition 65

February 12th, 2020 by Tara Taffera

There were no clear-cut answers amid a meeting of the Proposition 65 Vinyl Profile Study Group yesterday. The group gathered during this week’s Annual Conference of the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Proposition 65 requires businesses to produce warnings for Californians regarding significant exposures to various chemicals—including titanium dioxide (a compound that’s used to protect doors and windows from weather, heat and UV damage).

It’s a topic that many people were interested in, as there were 10-15 attendees standing in a hallway outside of an over-stuffed meeting room to participate in the discussion.

Mark DePaul leads an important discussion on Proposition 65 and how this may affect those who produce vinyl profiles.

“You have to prove it’s not going to be a hazard,” said Mark DePaul, group chair who led a productive discussion on the issue. “During the extrusion process, it’s not going to be a hazard,” DePaul said. “During the extrusion process PVC is attached to the chemical.”

“You have to look at your business very uniquely,” he added. “Is any of the free titanium oxide emitted?”

Other questions included: What is the potential impact to manufacturers? “You need to be having conversations with your legal counsel,” said DePaul. “We have to ask ourselves if we want to label this on our product,” he added, before opening to attendees for discussion.

“Our lawyer told us to put a label on the product, or put it on the website and we did both,” one company representative said.

Kathy Krafka Harkema, FGIA codes and regulatory affairs manager, pointed out that the biggest difference is in whether the chemical is bound or unbound. For the fenestration industry, it’s always the former, the group agreed.

“You have to be prepared on how to answer questions on this,” said DePaul. “You are talking parts-per-million, so it doesn’t take much to put a company in a tough position.”

Another attendee pointed out that for each of these chemicals there are thresholds, after which you have to label products accordingly.

One attendee said he thought the mission of the task group was to figure out if whether or not manufacturers are above or below the threshold. “We need to figure out how to test our products to figure out if we are above or below this,” he said.

Another pointed out that it costs money to perform testing, but that it doesn’t cost to put a label on a product, or a warning on a website.

A consensus indicated that the issue warrants further discussion. The group is going to send a note to all members performing extrusions, while consulting with members of the vinyl industry to gain more information. A report is scheduled to be provided in the group’s next meeting.

The FGIA Annual Conference continues through Thursday.

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