In 2010, Congress approved the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (the Act). The legislation, which adds a Title VI to the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), establishes formaldehyde emission limits from composite wood products including hardwood plywood, medium density fiberboard, and particleboard intended for import, distribution, or sale throughout the United States. These national emission standards mirror existing standards published by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for composite wood products sold, offered for sale, supplied, used, or manufactured in California.
Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations to implement the requirements specified in the legislation. In June 2013, the EPA proposed two draft regulations – the Third Party Certification Rule and the Implementation Rule which establish requirements for panel producers, fabricators, importers, distributors, and retailers who manufacture, supply, or sell composite wood products intended for the United States market. The draft EPA regulations incorporate additional product types and requirements not covered by existing CARB 93120 regulations in California that will impact all businesses along the wood products industry supply chain.
Proposed Rules to Implement the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (TSCA Title VI)
The two draft EPA rules are intended to protect the public from the risks associated with exposure to formaldehyde that can be emitted from composite wood products and provide one national set of standards for companies producing or trading composite wood products subject to TSCA Title VI:
Rule 1: Third Party Certification Rule – The first proposed rule would establish a framework for a third-party certification program to ensure that composite wood panel producers comply with the formaldehyde emission limits established by TSCA Title VI. Under the proposed framework, third-party certifiers (TPCs) would be required to apply to EPA-recognized accreditation bodies who would verify the certifiers’ ability to ensure that panel producers comply with the formaldehyde emission standards. Authorized TPCs would audit the quality systems established by composite wood panel producers to verify compliance with TSCA Title VI requirements including conformance to applicable formaldehyde emission standards. TPCs would be responsible for activities such as:
- Regularly auditing composite wood panel producers
- Conducting periodic formaldehyde emissions tests to monitor ongoing compliance
- Ensuring that panel producers’ quality control procedures and testing complies with TSCA Title VI regulations outlined in the Implementation Rule
Rule 2: Implementation Rule – The second proposal establishes formaldehyde emission standards for hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard, and finished goods containing these products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured (including imported) in the United States. It also includes protective yet common sense exemptions from some testing and record keeping requirements for products made with No-Added Formaldehyde (NAF) resins or Ultra-Low Emitting Formaldehyde (ULEF) production systems. The proposed Implementation Rule includes additional provisions including, but not limited to:
- Emission standards and requirements for Laminated products
- Testing requirements for Third Party Certifiers and Panel Producers
- Product labeling requirements
- Chain of custody documentation and other record keeping requirements applicable to all entities within the composite wood products supply chain
- Enforcement standards
- Product inventory sell-through provisions, including a prohibition on product stockpiling
Read the Proposed EPA Regulations
We’ve also included two in-depth pre-publication versions of the proposed EPA rules:
Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products; Proposed Rule [RIN 2070-AJ92; FRL-9342-3] (PDF)
Formaldehyde; Third-Party Certification Framework for the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products[RIN 2070-AJ44; FRL 9342-4] (PDF)
Regulatory Development Status
Benchmark International is committed to supporting the wood products industry and to help you make sense of these new laws. We continue to support companies, wood industry associations, and the EPA to craft effective, sensible, and achievable regulations that deliver on the goal of protecting the public health. EPA continues its work to finalize the proposed TSCA Title VI regulations. Final approval and publication is expected by late 2015 or early 2016. Once the final regulation is published, we will update you with the information you need to effectively and efficiently comply with these new requirements.
The EPA recently released a new regulation to protect the public from exposure to formaldehyde. This new regulation includes additional products not covered by CARB and will impact multiple businesses throughout the wood products industry at both the primary and secondary points of manufacture.