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EPA Rule on Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products Delayed

Monday, March 20, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed from Feb. 10 to May 22 the effective date of its final rule implementing the formaldehyde emission standards established by Congress in 2010 (in title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act) for imported and domestically produced composite wood products. The EPA is taking this action to give recently arrived agency officials the opportunity to learn more about this regulation and decide whether they would like to conduct a substantive review.

Key provisions of this rule include the following.

- Effective Dec. 12, 2017, hardwood plywood (including laminated products not exempt from the definition of hardwood plywood), particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard that is sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the U.S. must be in compliance with these standards, must be certified by a third-party certifier as being in compliance, and must be labeled with the producer’s name (or other identification), lot number, third-party certifier number, and a statement of compliance.

- Effective Dec. 12, 2017, finished goods made from covered products (e.g., furniture, cabinets, flooring, picture frames, toys, and building materials) must be labeled with the fabricator’s name, the date the good was produced, and a statement of compliance.

- Effective Dec. 12, 2018, importers of regulated composite wood products or articles that contain them must comply with the import certification regulations for chemical substances in bulk and as part of mixtures and articles in 19 CFR 12.118 through 12.127.

- Effective Dec. 12, 2023, laminated products must comply with the hardwood plywood emission standard and the testing, certification, and recordkeeping requirements for composite wood products.

- Finished goods, including component parts sold separately to end users, containing only a de minimis amount (144 square inches or less) of regulated composite wood product are excluded from the labeling requirements but not the recordkeeping requirements or other provisions.

- A program is established under which third-party certifiers will test raw composite wood products to verify compliance (finished goods will not require testing and certification) and will be accredited to do so by EPA-recognized accreditation bodies.

- Composite wood products made with no-added formaldehyde and ultra-low emitting formaldehyde resins may be eligible for less frequent testing or a two-year exemption from third-party testing and certification after an initial testing period of three months (NAF) or six months (ULEF).

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