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On March 13, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order in the case of Sierra Club and A Community Voice-Louisiana vs. Scott Pruitt, which resulted in the compliance date for formaldehyde emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling becoming June 1, 2018, rather than December 12, 2018. If you import, manufacture, sell, supply, test, or work with the certification of composite wood materials, you may be affected by this change of the compliance dates.

In September 2017, EPA extended the compliance dates for the formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products in the final rule that became effective on October 25, 2017 and issued pursuant to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title VI. The 2017 action extended the manufactured-by date for emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions until December 12, 2018; extended the compliance date for import certification provisions to March 22, 2019; and extended the compliance date for provisions applicable to laminated products[1] producers to March 22, 2024. Additionally, the 2017 action extended the transitional period for California Air Resources Board (CARB) Third Party Certifiers (TPC) to certify the composite wood products under TSCA Title VI with CARB's accreditation only (i.e., without EPA's accreditation) to March 22, 2019.

The formaldehyde emission standards are established for hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, thin medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard, and apply to these composite wood products regardless the form of the wood products (in a panel, a component part or a finished good). The TSCA Title VI formaldehyde emission standards are identical to CARB Airborne Toxic Control Measures (ATCM) Phase II formaldehyde emission standards for these composite wood products.

The March court order moved up the manufactured-by and import-by date from December 12, 2018 to June 1, 2018, which means the regulated composite wood products manufactured within the U.S. or imported to the U.S. must be certified as compliant with either the TSCA Title VI or the CARB ATCM Phase II emission standards by June 1, 2018, instead of December 12, 2018. The importer certification compliance date (March 22, 2019) and the TPC certification transitional period end date (March 22, 2019) remain unchanged. Note that for laminated products producers, the requirements for fabricators will apply starting June 1, 2018; but the requirements for hardwood plywood panel producers will not apply until March 22, 2024.[2]

A short summary of requirements under TSCA Title VI Formaldehyde standards is provided below:

  • Third Party Certification that the pertinent products meet the formaldehyde standards;
  • Label or color-coding on the pertinent products to indicate the products are TSCA Title VI compliant;
  • Recordkeeping requirements; and
  • Importer certification requirements.

Trinity can help you to plan ahead for the compliance with TSCA Title VI formaldehyde rule. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Hui Cheng at (253) 867-5600 x1003.


[1] Per 40 CFR 770.3, Laminated product means a product in which a wood or woody grass veneer is affixed to a particleboard core or platform, a medium-density fiberboard core or platform, or a veneer core or platform. A laminated product is a component part used in the construction or assembly of a finished good. In addition, a laminated product is produced by either the fabricator of the finished good in which the product is incorporated or a fabricator who uses the laminated product in the further construction or assembly of a component part.
[2] Certain exemption apply - see 40 CFR 770.4.