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STEELCASE, OFFICE FURNITURE MAKER, EXCEEDS FEDERAL LAWS TO ENHANCE THE ENVIRONMENT AND REDUCE INDOOR POLLUTANTS

 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- In a series of moves designed to improve air quality, indoors and out, Steelcase Inc. will meet and exceed both the letter and the spirit of laws implemented through the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
 Jerry K. Myers, president and chief executive officer of Steelcase Inc., said that as of May 15, Steelcase had achieved "label-free status" by eliminating certain ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) from its products. The EPA requires that products made with certain ODSs be labeled accordingly. Myers said the actions by the world's leading designer and manufacturer of office furniture respond to a critical need to protect the health and safety of the American workforce -- and of the planet.
 "We are committed to meeting our customers' needs for healthier offices and to reducing the threat to the Earth's atmosphere," said Myers. "Toward these ends, Steelcase has elected to implement the most stringent federal standards -- and, in some cases, to exceed them," he added.
 The new EPA rules implementing the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 require that products made with certain ODSs be labeled accordingly. Steelcase has eliminated not only Class I substances, which require labeling beginning May 15, but also most of the Class II ODSs that will be banned by federal law in January, 1994.
 Myers said the move to eliminate ODSs involved a multi-million- dollar company investment in new equipment, materials and the retraining of its workforce. Nonetheless, Steelcase recently announced it will hold its list prices at current levels through the end of the 1993 calendar year. The company has not posted an increase in its list prices since March 1991.
 Class I ozone-depleting substances are found commonly in adhesives and foams used in the manufacture of seating and panel products for the office. They include chlorofluorocarbons and methyl; choloforms which are thought to cause damage to the Earth's ozone layer.
 As of May 15, Class II ODSs also were eliminated for all flexible foams used in Steelcase seating products and from foam used in panels. By January, 1994, all other plastic foams used on Steelcase products will be Class II ODS-free, as defined by the EPA. Class II ODSs include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which have a lesser impact on the ozone layer than do Class I ODSs.
 Steelcase is leading the U.S. office furniture industry by using, across all product lines, a quality adhesive that does not contain ODSs or solvents.
 Indoor Air Quality Is Equally Critical
 Since December, 1992, Steelcase products also have qualified for "label-free status" for meeting, and in most cases, greatly exceeding, standards for formaldehyde exposure.
 Formaldehyde is recognized by environmental experts as a potential source of indoor air pollution and "sick building syndrome." As of December, 1992, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required manufacturers to label every product capable of releasing formaldehyde at certain levels. Products that release the substance at levels resulting in air concentrations of less than 0.1 ppm need not have a label.
 Formaldehyde can cause skin, respiratory, throat and eye irritation. But it is also recognized as a potential carcinogen. Products with the potential to produce formaldehyde off-gassing greater than 0.5 ppm must carry a label that says "Potential Cancer Hazard."
 The company has spent more than $400,000 on independent testing of levels of emissions that can affect indoor air quality. All Steelcase brand and Steelcase Design Partnership products manufactured in North America qualify to be label-free, in compliance with the most stringent OSHA standards.
 "The environmental challenge facing our industry today is formidable," Myers concluded. "Steelcase intends to continue in its leadership role, committed to quality products and environmental excellence."
 Steelcase Inc. is headquartered in Grand Rapids, with operations throughout North America, Europe and the Far East.
 -0- 5/14/93
 /NOTE: Fact sheets are available on request from CONTACT: Peter Jeff of Steelcase, 616-247-2277/


CO: Steelcase Inc. ST: Michigan IN: ENV SU:

DH -- DE001 -- 8408 05/14/93 06:31 EDT
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Date:May 14, 1993
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