The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a direct final rule allowing composite wood products and finished goods that contain such products that are manufactured prior to Dec. 12, 2017, and are compliant with the formaldehyde emission standards established by Congress in 2010 (in title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act) to be voluntarily labeled as compliant as soon as compliance can be achieved. Compliance is currently not required until Dec. 12 but the EPA believes this rule will enhance regulatory flexibility, facilitate a smoother supply chain transition to compliance, and promote the earlier entry into commerce of lower formaldehyde-emitting products. This rule will be effective as of Aug. 25 unless adverse comment is received by July 26.

The EPA is also continuing to work to extend the compliance dates in its December 2016 rule implementing the formaldehyde emission standards. The EPA issued a direct final rule to this effect in May, but adverse comments were received by the deadline so the EPA is proceeding with a proposed rulemaking. The current compliance dates, along with those the EPA has proposed, are as follows.

- 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 (proposed extension to March 22, 2018)

- 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, 2017 (proposed extension to March 22, 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, 2018 (proposed extension to March 22, 2019).

- Laminated products must comply with the hardwood plywood emission standard and the testing, certification, and recordkeeping requirements for composite wood products effective Dec. 12, 2023 (proposed extension to March 22, 2024).

- The transitional period during which California Air Resources Board third-party certifiers may certify composite wood products under title VI without an accreditation, provided the certifier remains approved by CARB, is recognized by the EPA, and complies with all aspects of the final rule, would expire Dec. 12, 2018 (proposed extension to March 22, 2019).


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