The Singaporean government is considering limits on formaldehyde emissions in building materials and home furnishings, as reported by Strait Times on January 6. The Alliance for Action on Sustainable Spaces, a group of industry leaders, has proposed a set of guidelines under which companies would be required to submit test reports for certification and demonstrate compliance with emissions limits before their products can be sold. Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Grace Fu, stated that the government considers the recommendations “very seriously”. Fu also emphasized the importance of having inspections and enforcement to ensure standards are followed, in response to people’s concerns over the regulatory effect of the voluntary guidelines proposed by industry stakeholders.
The increased indoor activities amid the spread of Covid-19 sparked worries about inadequate ventilation and poor air quality. Particularly, the formaldehyde generally used in building products releases particles that can cause cancer with high-level exposure. Therefore, in November 2021, Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), and Singapore Green Building Council formed the Alliance for Action on Sustainable Spaces. The alliance aims to ensure cleaner and greener indoor air quality. It proposed guidelines for maintaining good indoor air quality, acquiring certifications for efforts to maintain good indoor air quality, implementing workplace safety and health guidelines, and monitoring indoor air quality. In addition, the bloc called on the industry to develop and adopt low-emitting products and advance greater collaboration between the industry and the public.