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Formaldehyde Labelling Moved Up for Goods Made with Composite Wood Products

Pursuant to a court order, the Environmental Protection Agency has advanced from 12 December to 1 June the compliance date (i.e., the import-by or manufactured-by date) associated with a December 2016 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. These standards apply to hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fibreboard as well as finished goods made from such products (e.g., furniture, cabinets, flooring, picture frames, toys and building materials).

As a result, the following changes are noted.

  • By 1 June (rather than 12 December) regulated composite wood panels and finished products containing such panels must be certified as compliant with either TSCA Title VI or the California Air Resources Board Airborne Toxic Control Measures Phase II emission standards (which are set at identical levels) by a third-party certifier approved by CARB and recognised by the EPA.
  • Until 22 March 2019, regulated products certified as compliant with the CARB ATCM Phase II emission standards must be labelled as compliant with either the TSCA Title VI or the CARB ATCM Phase II emission standards. Thereafter they must be certified and labelled as TSCA Title VI compliant.
  • After 22 March 2019, CARB-approved TPCs must comply with additional accreditation requirements to remain EPA-recognised.

The following compliance dates remain unchanged.

  • Importers of regulated composite wood products or finished products 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 by 22 March 2019.
  • Laminated products must comply with the hardwood plywood emission standard and the testing, certification and recordkeeping requirements for composite wood products by 22 March 2024.
  • The transitional period during which CARB third-party certifiers may certify composite wood products under TSCA Title VI without an accreditation issued by an EPA TSCA Title VI accreditation body, so long as the certifier remains approved by CARB, is recognised by the EPA, and complies with all aspects of the final rule, will expire 22 March 2019.
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