US EPA issues final ruling on formaldehyde emissions

All wood-based products sold, manufactured or imported into the U.S. will have to adhere to new Formaldehyde Standards from February 10 onwards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published its final rule on Formaldehyde Standards for composite wood products in the Federal Register on December 12.

The ruling reduces exposure to formaldehyde vapours from certain wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States.

EPA worked with the California Air Resources Board to help ensure the final national rule is consistent with California’s requirements for composite wood products.

The Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010 established emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products and directed EPA to finalise a rule on implementing and enforcing a number of provisions covering composite wood products.

One year after the rule is published, composite wood products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States will need to be labeled as TSCA Title VI compliant. These products include: hardwood plywood, medium-density fibreboard, particleboard, as well as household and other finished goods containing these products.

By including provisions for laminated products, product testing requirements, labeling, record-keeping and import certification, the final rule ensures that hardwood plywood, Medium Density Fibreboard and particleboard products sold or manufactured in the United States are in compliance with the emission standards.

The final rule also establishes a third-party certification programme for laboratory testing and oversight of formaldehyde emissions from manufactured and/or imported composite wood products.

Robert Glowinski, president and CEO of the American Wood Council, said, “We supported the legislation as consistent with good product stewardship. Implementing this rule essentially extends California’s regulations nationwide and creates a consistent system on how we regulate formaldehyde emissions for composite wood products manufactured in and imported into the United States.”