On 12 December 2016, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)1 published the Final rule for formaldehyde emission standards on composite wood products2 under authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)3. The rule sets out detailed record-keeping, labelling, and testing requirements for composite wood and products containing composite wood and is intended to help reduce exposures to formaldehyde emitted into the air from certain composite wood products. The EPA emissions standards are identical to those set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB)4.
Composite wood products are wood products created by binding strands, particles, fibres, veneers, or boards of wood together with adhesives (i.e. glues). This rule will implement the emission standards and other provisions required under the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which added Title VI to the TSCA.
There are three major areas that manufacturers, distributors, importers, and retailers should be aware of:
1. Record Keeping and Labelling: there are new requirements that will take effect one year after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.
2. Importer Certification: importers will be required to certify that composite wood or products containing composite wood comply with the TSCA. This will take effect two years after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.
3. Testing Requirements: Third party testing and certification will be required seven years after publication of the final rule.
There are some exemptions to the rule related to the definition of “hardwood plywood” or an application for exemption directly with EPA. The application for exemption requires a 6-month testing program along with Additional testing to renew the exemption every two years.