Weekly Compliance Digest – Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products
Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products
What is it?
Last week, the EPA announced a final rule that implements the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which adds Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The purpose of TSCA Title VI is to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, which would reduce exposures to formaldehyde and therefore prevent adverse health effects.
The final rule includes formaldehyde emission standards applicable to hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard, as well as finished goods containing these products, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured (including imported) in the U.S.
The final rule includes provisions relating to laminated products, products made with no-added formaldehyde resins or ultra low-emitting formaldehyde resins, testing requirements, product labeling, chain of custody documentation and other record-keeping requirements, enforcement, import certification, and product inventory sell-through provisions, including a product stockpiling prohibition.
The EPA worked with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to help ensure the final national rule is consistent with California requirements for composite wood products.
Who is affected?
All entities along the supply chain, from the manufacture to the sale of composite wood products, will be affected by the final rule requirements, including importers, distributors, retailers, panel producers, and fabricators.
Companies that manufacture (including import), sell, supply, or offer for sale hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard, and/or products containing these composite wood materials in the U.S. are potentially affected by the rule. Here are some specific industries (including NAICS codes) potentially affected:
- Veneer, plywood, and engineered wood product manufacturing (NAICS code 3212)
- Manufactured home (mobile home) manufacturing (NAICS code 321991)
- Prefabricated wood building manufacturing (NAICS code 321992)
- Furniture and related product manufacturing (NAICS code 337)
- Furniture merchant wholesalers (NAICS code 42321)
- Lumber, plywood, millwork, and wood panel merchant wholesalers (NAICS code 42331)
- Other construction material merchant wholesalers (NAICS code 423390), e.g. merchant wholesale distributors of manufactured homes (mobile homes) and/or prefabricated buildings.
- Building material and supplies dealers (NAICS code 4441)
- Engineering services (NAICS code 541330)
What are the requirements?
The final rule includes the following key provisions:
- Limits on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products that are sold, manufactured, or imported in the U.S. Formaldehyde is found in the adhesives used in a wide range of composite wood products.
- Requirement to label these wood products as TSCA Title VI compliant one year after the rule is published.
- Testing requirements to ensure that products comply with the standards.
The EPA says that the rule aims to level the playing field for domestic manufacturers who have a high rate of compliance with the California standard, and ensure that imported products not subject to California’s
requirements will meet the new standard.
The rule also establishes a third-party certification program to ensure that composite wood panel (hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard) producers comply with the new emissions limits. It also includes procedures for the accreditation of third-party certifiers and general requirements for accreditation bodies and third-party certifiers.
What is next?
The formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products will go into effect one year after the rule is finalized. On July 27, 2016, a pre-publication version of the rule was submitted by the EPA for publication in the Federal Register.
UPDATE: The EPA has delayed the effective date of the rule to May 22, 2017.
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