Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2002


Marvin Windows and Doors Settles Class Action Lawsuit
A settlement agreement by Warroad, Minn.-based Marvin Windows and Doors will give a discount on certain replacement products to customers who purchased certain Marvin products manufactured between 1985 and 1989.

The agreement is the result of a suit brought against Marvin when customers experienced decay in some wood windows and doors manufactured between 1985 and 1989 (see the fall 2000 issue of Door & Window Maker, page 24, for related story). During that period, Marvin says it treated its products with a wood preservative, PILT, which it purchased from the coatings division of PPG. According to Marvin, the PILT proved to be ineffective.

According to settlement terms, owners of Marvin windows or doors manufactured during the specified period are eligible for net discounts ranging from approximately 38 percent to 58 percent on new windows and doors.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement. Resolving these legal issues allows us to continue to focus on working with our customers to fix the problem,” said Susan Marvin, president of Marvin Windows and Doors. “We take a great deal of pride in the products that bear our family name … It is unfortunate that the preservative failed to prevent decay and provide long-term protection as we had been assured, but ... the settlement will help us continue to make things right with our customers and continue our pledge to stand behind our products.”

At press time, no comment was available from PPG.

SGCD Executive Director Testifies on EPA’s TRI Lead Rule
Andrew Bopp, executive director for the Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators (SGCD), testified November 8 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) lead rule before the House Small Business Committee, Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight. Bopp was one of five testifying before the committee. The testimonies pointed out flaws in the EPA’s economic analysis of changes in the TRI reporting of lead and lead compounds. Previously, the rule required that companies report lead and lead compound emissions if they manufactured or processed more than 25,000 pounds annually or used more than 10,000 pounds annually. The changes require all who use more than 100 pounds of lead a year to report their annual lead usage to the EPA. 

“For small companies to comply [with the reporting] it will require hundreds of hours in staff time and record keeping … and those reports must be right or they will face steep fines by the EPA,” said Bopp. “For companies with, let’s say ten employees, it will be very difficult and very costly for them to comply. This reporting produces no information that’s worth anything to anyone.” 

While the committee itself cannot force the EPA to revisit the rule without a full House and Senate vote, the SGCD says it expects that the committee will join efforts with other House and Senate committees and individual representatives and senators to “encourage EPA administrator Christie Whitman to issue a comprehensive scientific research charge to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board to determine whether the TRI rule is based on sound science.”

“They are throwing us [the glass and ceramic decorator industry] in with major chemical and smoke-stake industries and there is no scientific justification,” said Bopp. He added that the EPA “is making small companies in this tough market jump through hoops” to comply with a ruling that is not considered a threat by anyone. 

Mirror manufacturers may also be affected by the EPA’s rule. According to Peter Walters, group vice president with Guardian Industries, the rule only affects Guardian in the sense that they must now report their lead usage. “Previously the threshold for usage was so high that none of our plants, mirror or otherwise, were required to report their usage,” he said. “However, all of our plants will now have to file a report with the EPA.” Walters added that since there were no changes to the standard beyond the reporting, Guardian doesn’t see any additional costs involved other than the administrative costs of the reporting. 


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