New formaldehyde emission standards for US market

By June 1, 2018 regulated composite wood panels and finished products containing such composite wood panels that are manufactured (in the United States) or imported (into the United States) must be certified as compliant with either TSCA Title VI or the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measures (ATCM) Phase II emission standards, which are set at identical levels, by a third-party certifier (TPC) approved by CARB and recognized by EPA. Previously, these products were required to be TSCA Title VI compliant by December 12, 2018.

The new order “levels the competitive playing field for many US-based manufacturers”, said Earthjustice, since domestic companies have already reduced formaldehyde levels. American manufacturers “have been undercut by foreign products that don’t meet the same safety standards”.

Formaldehyde, a carcinogen, is used to bind plywood, particleboard and other wood products used in a wide array of consumer products, such as panelling, flooring, cabinets and furniture.

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