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EPA Address Formaldehyde

EPA Address Formaldehyde

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed two rules to “ensure” that composite wood products produced domestically or imported into the U.S. meet the formaldehyde emission standards established by Congress. In 2010, Congress passed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, or Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which establishes emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products and directs EPA to propose rules to enforce the act’s provisions.

EPA’s proposed rules align, where practical, with the requirements for composite wood products set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), putting in place national standards for companies that manufacture or import these products. EPA’s national rules will also encourage an ongoing industry development toward switching to no-added formaldehyde resins in composite wood products.

EPA’s first proposal limits how much formaldehyde may be emitted from hardwood plywood, medium density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods. The emitted formaldehyde may be left over from the resin or composite wood making process or be released when the resin degrades in the presence of heat and humidity. This proposal also includes testing requirements, laminated product provisions, product labeling requirements, chain of custody documentation, record-keeping, a stockpiling prohibition, and enforcement provisions. It also includes a common-sense exemption from some testing and record-keeping requirements for products made with no-added formaldehyde resins.

The second proposal establishes a third-party certification framework designed to ensure that manufacturers of composite wood products meet the TSCA formaldehyde emission standards by having their composite wood products certified though an accredited third-party certifier. It would also establish eligibility requirements and responsibilities for third-party certifiers and the EPA-recognized accreditation bodies who would accredit them. EPS says the proposed third-party certification program will level the playing field by ensuring composite wood products sold in this country meet the emission standards in the rule regardless of whether they were made in the U.S. or not.

“CPA congratulates EPA for today’s release of important proposed rules implementing the Congressional establishment of a tough, fair and enforceable national standard on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products,” says CPA President Tom Julia. “We look forward to reviewing the proposed rules during the public comment period and ensuring that they are crafted in a manner that meets the objectives of the legislation.”

CPA will be developing comments through its Emissions Regulation Task Group and Board of Directors. CPA will also coordinate the development of comments from a broad coalition of trade associations and other stakeholders similar to the California Wood ­Industry Coalition (CWIC) that submitted group comments on the CARB regulation.

The law applies to nonstructural composite wood products and thus exempts structural wood products such as structural plywood, OSB, I-joists, glued-laminated timbers and LVL.

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