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40-Palm Beach Post. Thursday, Nov. 21, 1968 Dingell Says Lack Of Lumber Standards Causes Catastrophic Losses To Business By DALE PL LLEN Washington Bureau WASHINGTON - "We have stiicks ol letters from small businessmen who have been threatened with catastrophic losses because structural lumber has tailed." These are words from U.S. Rep John Dingell. D-Mich., who has been waging a little-noticed battle for two years with the nation's lumber industry to improve and standardize its grading methods. Dingell says hearings before his subcommittee on Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies show that structural lumber used in floor joists and roof rafters often is not as dards for grading lumber, Dingell says the industry dominates "in the area of standards." There are no federal laws requiring lumber grading and only a few state regulations. The existing volunteer operation seems shaky at best. The Secretary of Commerce appoints an American Lumber Standards Committee made up of interested representatives including manufacturers of lumber, wholesalers, retailers. When the committee formulates a standard it is passed to the Secretary of Commerce who polls the industry and distributors and it there is a con strong or rigid as indicated by its grade mark. The grading is done by different segments of the lumber industry and "is a conglomerate of standards," Dingell says. The potential dangers are obvious, he says, when a builder puts up a structure using lumber with a grade mark indicating certain strength when, in fact, the lumber does not have that strength. Thus, a builder has no positive way of knowing exactly the strength of the lumber he is using. While organizations outside the lumber industry have some say in setting the stan Dingell's repeated, if little noticed complaints about lumber grading deceptions, apparently reached the Federal Trade Commission here. There also are indications that the Federal Housing Administration which makes decisions on lumber used in Federal-financed building projects is going to bring added pressures on the industry to upgrade and standardize its lumber grading procedures. Does Dingell propose a tru-th-in lumber label law? Not yet. But he says there will be federal regulation unless the lumber industry "voluntarily puts its own house in order." sensus that it is acceptable, a voluntary standard is created. A grade stamp is applied on lumber generally by a sawmill employe who has been certified by a grading agency of one of the big industry associations. Unfortunately, according to Dingell, lumber sometimes is not marked at the sawmill and moves into the market where it is marked for strength it does not possess. He says that even if marked at the sawmill, the different ratings each allow a wide strength variance. So the rating is not accurate to a reasonably safe point, he says. 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