USEPA Formaldehyde Regulation Takes Effect



Formaldehyde, a major component in the production of wood-binding adhesives and resins, is produced worldwide on an industrial scale. On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) finalized a rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde vapors from certain wood products. On May 22, 2017, the federal rule for Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Act went into effect and added Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The purpose of the USEPA rule is to reduce formaldehyde emissions from wood products and consequently reduce the adverse health effects associated with exposure to the formaldehyde vapors. The rule includes formaldehyde emission standards applicable to hardwood plywood; medium-density fiberboard; particleboard; and finished goods containing formaldehyde sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured (including imported) in the United States. The rule also includes provisions relating to, among other things, laminated products; products made with no-added formaldehyde resins or ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde resins; testing requirements; product labeling; chain of custody documentation and other recordkeeping requirements; enforcement; import certification; and product inventory sell-through provisions, including a product stockpiling prohibition.

The rule also sets forth a third-party certification program for hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard and includes procedures for the accreditation of third-party certifiers and general requirements for accreditation bodies and third-party certifiers.

Accreditation bodies and third-party certifiers can now apply to USEPA for recognition under TSCA Title VI. USEPA has also proposed to update the regulation to delay the compliance dates for all regulatory provisions, including the emission standards and labeling requirements, from December 12, 2017, to March 22, 2018. The proposed amendment may include delay of other compliance dates as well.

The USEPA final regulation (dated December 12, 2016) and the proposed compliance dates are available here.

USEPA Proposed Extensions to Compliance Dates are available here.