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Canada to Develop Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products

The Canadian government has announced its intention to develop formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products and hopes to issue a proposed regulation by early 2018. As part of an open and transparent process, the development of these regulations will include consultations with representatives of provincial and territorial governments, industry, non­governmental organisations, the public and other stakeholders in advance of publication of a proposal in the Canada Gazette. These consultations will include an introductory webinar in spring 2017 followed by a more in-depth multi­stakeholder workshop. Input received will be considered during the development of the regulations. In addition, there will be a comment period following the Canada Gazette publication during which interested parties will have an opportunity to submit input specific to the proposed regulations.

Canadian authorities indicate that mandatory testing and labelling of formaldehyde off-gassing is required in a number of jurisdictions. For example, the U.S. national emission standards require composite wood products sold or imported in the United States to comply with emission standards based on the California Air Resources Board formaldehyde emission requirement. Regulations issued by the EPA will phase in these requirements from 12 December 2017 through 12 December 2023. France also regulates formaldehyde emissions by composite wood products while Mexico has proposed a similar standard. Moreover, other national jurisdictions in Europe require wood panels to meet specific emission targets.

A voluntary standard recently adopted by the Canadian Standards Association (CAN/CSA­O160­16) seeks to harmonise Canadian practices with those in place in California as well as U.S. federal regulations. Canadian authorities note, however, that since individuals and companies are not required to comply with CAN/CSA­O160­16 actions under this voluntary initiative have potentially less impact on reducing overall indoor formaldehyde emissions that a regulatory approach.

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