Update Regarding EPA Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products (TSCA Title VI, 40 CFR 770)


Event Title

08h00 - 16h30

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On May 1, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public meeting on various regulations under its purview including the new final rule regarding formaldehyde in composite wood and finished goods containing composite wood. The meeting was to allow public input within the lens of President Trump’s mandate to reduce the regulatory burden in the U.S. The EPA provided no new information regarding regulations at this meeting but solicited public comment for future considerations. A summary of the public comment pertaining specifically to the final rule for formaldehyde in composite wood is below.


Background Summary
On December 12, 2016, the EPA issued a final rule to implement the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which added Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The purpose of TSCA Title VI is to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, which will reduce exposures to formaldehyde and result in benefits from avoided adverse health effects. The final rule includes formaldehyde emission standards applicable to hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard, and finished goods containing these products, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured (including imported) in the United States. There are also provisions relating to laminated products, product labeling, chain of custody documentation, recordkeeping, enforcement, import certification and third-party certifiers.


The final rule was delayed on January 26, 2017 and again on March 20, 2017 to give the new EPA administration time to review. Pending any further delays the final rule will become active May 22, 2017. Please note the first compliance date of December 12, 2017 has not changed at this time. 


Public Comment Summary:
The following summarizes public comments received during the May 1, 2017 EPA meeting:
• Majority of commenters, including affected trade organizations, continue to support the final rule.
• Trade organizations state represented manufacturers already comply with the final rule thereby incurring cost while noncompliant manufacturers and importers are allowed an economic advantage. The final rule will level the competitive landscape.
• Trade organizations and others are weary of discussion. The statutory act regarding composite wood was passed in 2010 and regulations were supposed to be promulgated by 2013. Industry wants to move forward and stop revisiting a finalized rule. 
• While generally supportive, commenters suggested:
    o Harmonizing with California to alleviate regulatory burden caused by small differences in CARB’s ATCM for Formaldehyde and EPA TSCA Title VI such as the de minimis exception, laminated products requirements and record keeping duration.
    o Addressing the prohibition of marking/labeling product prior to the first compliance date. Industry states they cannot suddenly label all affected product at the stroke of midnight when the first compliance date is reached.
   o Notification and segregation of noncompliant product should be limited to raw panels only.
    o Movement of current compliance dates and/or issuance of interpretation or direct final rule to modify current final rule due to points noted above.


Additional Information: 
Link to the final rule published on December 12, 2016:


Bureau Veritas will continue to monitor this final rule and notify clients if significant changes occur. If you have any comments or questions, please contact your customer service representative or email: info@us.bureauveritas.com.

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