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SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 135/17

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The US EPA did not receive adverse comments for its Direct Final Rule (DFR) on labeling relief for compliant composite wood products. The DFR will become effective on August 25, 2017.

In July 2010, President Obama signed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (the Act) into law. This landmark piece of legislation amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and directed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations to implement the Act.

In December 2016, EPA published a Final Rule to implement the Act. This Final Rule [1] includes provisions relating to, among other things, formaldehyde emission standards in hardwood plywood composite core or veneer core (HWPW-CC or VC), particleboards (PBs) and medium-density fiberboards (MDFs), third-party certification programs, incentives for products manufactured from ultra-low emitting formaldehyde resins (ULEF) and no added-formaldehyde-based resins (NAF), product labeling, Accreditation Bodies (ABs) and Third-party Certifiers (TPCs). The formaldehyde emission standards are identical to those in Phase 2 of the Air Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) to control formaldehyde emissions under the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

In July 2017, the EPA published a Direct Final Rule (DFR [2]) to allow compliant composite wood products and finished goods that were manufactured before December 12, 2017 to be labeled as TSCA Title VI Compliant [3]. According to the DFR, compliant panels and finished goods could be voluntarily labeled as compliant as soon as compliance can be achieved. This labeling relief would enhance regulatory flexibility and facilitate a smoother supply chain transition to compliance with broader requirements in the Act, as well as promoting compliant composite wood products entering commerce earlier than under the rule as originally published. This DFR would be withdrawn if adverse comments were received by July 26, 2017.

The EPA did not receive any adverse comments [4]. This DFR will become effective on August 25, 2017 [5].

Highlights of the DFR after deadline for comments are summarized in the table below.

US EPA, 40 CFR Part 770, Direct Final Rule, July 11, 2017
Labeling Relief; Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products
Scope Provision on Labeling                 Effective Date
Composite wood products and finished goods manufactured before December 12, 2017

Permitted to be labeled as:
TSCA Title VI Compliant

August 25, 2017
(No adverse comments were received by July 26, 2017)

NEXT STEP:

Stakeholders are advised to comply with the latest requirements for composite wood products and finished goods under the Act for the US market.

Throughout our global network of Third Party Certification laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including certification, analytical testing and consultancy for formaldehyde emissions in composite wood products for California, the US and worldwide markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

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