Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1985 

                        CHAPTER 216-S.F.No. 1279 
           An act relating to housing; providing for a product 
          standard for formaldehyde in building materials used 
          in the construction of housing units; amending 
          Minnesota Statutes 1984, sections 144.495; and 
          325F.18, subdivisions 1, 1a, and 4; proposing coding 
          for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 325F; 
          repealing Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 325F.18, 
          subdivision 5. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 144.495, is 
amended to read: 
    144.495 [FORMALDEHYDE RULES.] 
    The legislature finds that building materials containing 
urea formaldehyde may emit unsafe levels of formaldehyde in 
newly constructed housing units.  The product standards 
prescribed in section 5 are intended to provide indoor air 
levels of formaldehyde that do not exceed 0.4 parts per 
million.  If the commissioner of health determines that the 
standards prescribed in section 5 result in indoor air levels of 
formaldehyde that exceed 0.4 parts per million, the commissioner 
may adopt different building materials product standards to 
ensure that the 0.4 parts per million level is not 
exceeded.  Within 30 days after April 24, 1980 The 
commissioner of health shall determine if a significant health 
problem is presented by the use of building materials that emit 
formaldehyde gases.  If he determines that such a problem exists 
he shall promulgate rules pursuant to chapter 14, including 
emergency rules, establishing standards governing the sale of 
building materials and housing units that contain products made 
with urea formaldehyde may adopt rules under chapter 14 to 
establish product standards as provided in this section.  The 
rules of the commissioner governing ambient air levels of 
formaldehyde, Minnesota Rules, parts 4620.1600 to 4620.2100, are 
repealed, except that the rule of the commissioner relating to 
new installations of urea formaldehyde foam insulation in 
residential housing units remains in effect. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 325F.18, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  (a) No manufacturer shall sell any building 
materials and no builder shall sell or lease to the initial 
occupant a housing unit, other than a unit of manufactured 
housing, containing urea formaldehyde unless the manufacturer or 
builder has made the following written disclosure to any 
purchaser of the materials or housing unit or lessee of the 
housing unit: "WARNING.  THIS PRODUCT (HOUSING UNIT) CONTAINS 
THE CHEMICAL FORMALDEHYDE.  FOR SOME PEOPLE FORMALDEHYDE MAY 
CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS, SUCH AS IRRITATION OF THE EYES, NOSE AND 
THROAT, SNEEZING, COUGHING, HEADACHES, SHORTNESS OF BREATH, OR 
CHEST OR STOMACH PAINS.  CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF TWO, ELDERLY 
PEOPLE, PEOPLE WITH BREATHING PROBLEMS OR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES 
MAY HAVE MORE SERIOUS DIFFICULTIES.  IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT 
PROBLEMS YOU MAY HAVE WITH FORMALDEHYDE, CONSULT A DOCTOR." 
"IMPORTANT HEALTH NOTICE. 
    SOME OF THE BUILDING MATERIALS USED IN THIS HOME (OR THESE 
BUILDING MATERIALS) EMIT FORMALDEHYDE.  EYE, NOSE, AND THROAT 
IRRITATION, HEADACHE, NAUSEA AND A VARIETY OF ASTHMA-LIKE 
SYMPTOMS, INCLUDING SHORTNESS OF BREATH, HAVE BEEN REPORTED AS A 
RESULT OF FORMALDEHYDE EXPOSURE.  ELDERLY PERSONS AND YOUNG 
CHILDREN, AS WELL AS ANYONE WITH A HISTORY OF ASTHMA, ALLERGIES, 
OR LUNG PROBLEMS, MAY BE AT GREATER RISK.  RESEARCH IS 
CONTINUING ON THE POSSIBLE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO 
FORMALDEHYDE. 
    REDUCED VENTILATION MAY ALLOW FORMALDEHYDE AND OTHER 
CONTAMINANTS TO ACCUMULATE IN THE INDOOR AIR.  HIGH INDOOR 
TEMPERATURES AND HUMIDITY RAISE FORMALDEHYDE LEVELS.  WHEN A 
HOME IS TO BE LOCATED IN AREAS SUBJECT TO EXTREME SUMMER 
TEMPERATURES, AN AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM CAN BE USED TO CONTROL 
INDOOR TEMPERATURE LEVELS.  OTHER MEANS OF CONTROLLED MECHANICAL 
VENTILATION CAN BE USED TO REDUCE LEVELS OF FORMALDEHYDE AND 
OTHER INDOOR AIR CONTAMINANTS. 
    IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF 
FORMALDEHYDE, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT." 
    (b) No manufacturer shall sell or lease a manufactured home 
containing urea formaldehyde unless the manufacturer has made 
the written disclosure prescribed in Code of Federal 
Regulations, title 24, section 3280.309 (1984). 
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 325F.18, 
subdivision 1a, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 1a.  For the purposes of this section "building 
materials" means any urea formaldehyde-containing material used 
in the construction or, insulation, or renovation of a housing 
unit or a nonresidential building, but does not include:  
    (1) draperies, carpeting, furniture and furnishings not 
normally permanently affixed to a housing unit; and 
    (2) noncellular insulation. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 325F.18, 
subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 4.  The manufacturer of a product or builder of a 
housing unit that contains materials made with urea formaldehyde 
shall pay the reasonable cost of repair or relocation if the 
consumer can document that the housing unit contains a 
significant ambient air level of formaldehyde and in addition 
product used in constructing the consumer's residence did not, 
at the time of manufacture, meet the product standard 
established in section 5.  The builder of a housing unit shall 
pay the reasonable cost of repair or relocation if the consumer 
can document that the builder used products in the construction 
of the housing unit that were subject to the product standard 
adopted under section 5 but were not certified and labeled under 
section 5.  A manufacturer or builder is not liable under this 
subdivision unless the consumer has documented medical records 
of illness related to formaldehyde and a statement from a 
physician that the consumer must vacate the premises.  The party 
who has received the claim has the right to test the ambient air 
level of the housing unit or products at reasonable times.  
    If within 30 days after the presentation of the items set 
forth above the manufacturer or builder and the consumer do not 
agree on a remedy the consumer may bring suit to recover the 
reasonable cost of repair or relocation plus reasonable 
attorneys' fees.  Notwithstanding the remedy under this 
subdivision, the consumer may bring an action for personal 
injury, if any, if the action is commenced within one year from 
the presentation of the items required by this subdivision the 
consumer's receipt of the order of a physician to vacate the 
premises due to an illness related to formaldehyde.  
    Sec. 5.  [325F.181] [FORMALDEHYDE PRODUCT STANDARD.] 
    All plywood and particleboard used in newly constructed 
housing units, including manufactured homes, or sold to the 
public for use as building materials, shall comply with the 
product standards, certification and labeling requirements, and 
other provisions in Code of Federal Regulations, title 24, 
sections 3280.308 and 3280.406 (1984).  After February 1, 1986, 
all medium density fiberboard used in newly constructed housing 
units, including manufactured homes, or sold to the public for 
use as building materials, shall comply with the product 
standard, certification and labeling requirements, and other 
provisions for particleboard in Code of Federal Regulations, 
title 24, section 3280.308 (1984), notwithstanding the fact that 
medium density fiberboard is not specifically covered by that 
regulation.  The product standards prescribed in this section 
may be modified by rule by the commissioner of health only as 
provided in section 144.495. 
    Sec. 6.  [STUDY.] 
    The commissioner of health shall study the feasibility of 
developing product standards for, or otherwise regulating, the 
materials exempted from the definition of building materials in 
section 325F.18, subdivision 1a.  The commissioner shall report 
to the legislature by January 1, 1987. 
    Sec. 7.  [REPEALER.] 
    Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 325F.18, subdivision 5, is 
repealed. 
    Sec. 8.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    Sections 1 to 7 are effective June 30, 1985. 
    Approved May 23, 1985