The challenges of California’s Proposition 65
Pro dealers, hardware stores and home centers in California are facing a challenge in the coming months as Proposition 65 expands its reach into day-to-day business dealings.
Not to mention vendors who will be better than busy identifying the ingredients of products carried by industry retailers.
Officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 was enacted as a ballot initiative in California in 1986. The proposition protects the state’s drinking water sources from being contaminated with chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and it requires businesses to inform Californians about exposures to such chemicals.
Proposition 65 also requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. It is overseen by the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which is the lead state agency for assessing health risks posed by environmental contaminants.
Now retailers must be ready to post proper signage that warns consumers of the dangers and toxins contained in some products. Noncompliance could result in heavy fines or unwanted litigation.
“The major concern is that a typical lumberyard could have 100 of these items in the products they sell,” said Ken Dunham, executive director of the West Coast Lumber and Building Material Association. “And the challenge there is that they may not even know what the supplier or manufacturer used in the product they are selling.”
The other challenge retail outlets face is just how much warning is sufficient enough. While a warning sign might be placed near a product, a lawsuit could challenge that the sign was not large enough or prominently displayed due to a lack of definition in the code.
“And then you have to spend money to defend it,” Dunham said.
The state has yet to put a precise definition on the books as to where or how the warning signs should be displayed. Locations that permit liquor sales in California are the exception, with clearly defined placement rules.
In recent communications via its LowesLink online portal, Lowe’s has told vendors that their products now need a Proposition 65 warning, even if a warning was not previously required. And if a product already has a Proposition 65 warning, it needs to be updated to be compliant with new requirements.
Along with submitting the proper warning information, Lowe’s also has told vendors that it will not take the responsibility of defining what products fall under Proposition 65.
“Lowe’s will rely on your substantial product expertise to identify products that fall under Proposition 65’s requirements,” the Mooresville, N.C.-based company said. “As a retailer, Lowe’s will not determine if a warning is or is not needed for your products.”
But membership of the WCLBMA includes retailers, manufacturers and distributors who operate on nearly all sides of the Prop 65 equation. Along with creating a warning label system — which should cover code requirements and the threat of litigation — the WCLBMA has been working to keep all of its members on the same page.
The association hopes to have a manual of compliance completed by May and have everything in order by October of this year.
“If we can all work together on this, to not pit one segment of the industry against the other, we should have enough information to keep this from becoming an ‘us versus them’ issue,” Dunham said.
That means having vendors, who are selling the products to retailers, completing due diligence on their part when it comes to product ingredients and warnings.
“Everyone is doing their job,” Dunham said.
eRetailers need to be alert to this issue as well. You still have to place a warning on each product page of your digital catalog when shipping into California. In addition, we are seeing more and more product restrictions by state and even as granular as specific counties within states.
LP Q1 earnings jump 65%
Higher prices and strong demand help fuel LP sales.
LP Building Products reported first quarter 2018 net sales of $691 million, a 13% increase from first quarter 2017 net sales of $611 million.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based building products manufacturer also reported a first quarter net income of $91 million — a 65% jump from a net income of $55 million for the same period a year ago.
The company’s Siding segment reported net sales of $227 million, increasing 6% for the quarter while sales in the OSB grew 17% to $313 million for the period. Sales in the EWP segment were up 23% to $101 million for the quarter. South American sales of $42 million were up nearly 11%.
“Our results benefited from higher OSB prices and we delivered strong performances in our engineered wood products and South American operations,” LP CEO Brad Southern said.
Southern noted that LP’s Siding segment is expected to see sales growth of 12% to 14% for the remainder of the year. “We expect the strength in the housing market to continue in the second quarter and the demand for our products to remain robust.”
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BC Floor Value software remedies design issues
Floors throughout a home can be designed with optimal characteristics for each space.
Boise Cascade Company has developed its analytical BC FloorValue software to help floor designers quickly identify floor performance issues early in the design process and provide options to efficiently resolve those issues.
Part of Boise Cascade’s BC Framer design software, BC FloorValue offers a convenient way for designers to determine if a floor plan has been optimized. The easy-to-use tool checks a floor plan for problems, suggests options to correct detected issues and provides a cost comparison for required upgrades.
Designers can evaluate different products or on-center spacing and sheathing thickness options to achieve the optimum price/value relationship. The tool can also be used to evaluate less expensive framing without negatively impacting the floor.
In addition, floors throughout the home can be designed with optimal characteristics for each space – for example, stiffer structural members can be placed under tile floors in entryways and bathrooms, while more forgiving floors can be situated under carpet in bonus rooms, closets and other less frequently used spaces.
“We developed BC FloorValue to ensure that every floor has the right level of performance for its intended use while also balancing the overall cost of the floor system,” said Tim Debelius, marketing programs manager for Boise Cascade Engineered Wood Products. “Floor system deflection, vibration and sheathing deflection are often afterthoughts, and in many cases, issues are discovered after the floor has already been installed. The ability to identify potential problem areas such as uneven floor deflection or vibration early in the design phase, rather than post-construction, is invaluable in helping to avoid customer callbacks, costly repairs and damage to a builder’s reputation.”
BC FloorValue utilizes a colorful, visual “Heat Map” to indicate areas of floor system deflection, a first in the industry. The tool analyzes the entire floor as a single system, taking into account how joist, sheathing and support stiffness impact overall system performance. By considering deflection of all supporting members, BC FloorValue accurately pinpoints areas where a low spot may occur, finding areas that might not have been detected during an analysis of individual members.
The new tool also detects the potential for unwanted floor vibrations — identifying the overall vibration characteristics of the floor system and worst performing joist or beam, and then ranking the system on an easy-to-understand, 3-tier rating scale. If the analysis determines that the floor is “standard,” designers can easily review ways to boost it to a higher rating, often for little or no additional cost.
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