A product advisory has been issued, warning that non-APA-certified laminated veneer lumber scaffold planks imported from China failed to meet design specifications embossed on the products.

The advisory, titled "Imported Chinese LVL Scaffold Plank," is available online at www.apawood.org.

"This does raise concern for life safety issues," says Borjen Yeh, director of technical services for APA–The Engineered Wood Association. The APA conducted mechanical and adhesive tests on 30 sample planks and determined that their performance was "substantially below the value proclaimed by the manufacturer."

According to the APA, although the planks were labeled 2.2E, which indicates an elasticity rating of 2.2 million pounds per square inch under load, the bending strength of the tested products was up to 30% less than comparable U.S.-made planks. The imported planks also scored below U.S. Voluntary Product Standard PS-1 for glue bond durability.

The tested samples also did not bear the mark of an independent, nationally recognized certification agency. According to OSHA scaffold plank regulations and the American National Standards Institute, all laminated scaffold must have such a seal, certifying standards compliance.

In 2007, Chinese-made concrete forms failed to meet the PS-1 standard for strength, adhesive durability and formaldehyde emissivity.