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US EPA Issues Final Rule for Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products

SafeGuardSHardgoods, Toys and Juvenile ProductsFebruary 24, 2023

SG 30/23

The US EPA has issued a final rule to revise the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite wood Products Act. This final rule will become effective on March 23, 2023.

In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Final Rule to implement the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (the Act) – a landmark piece of legislation which added Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA Title VI).

On February 21, 2023, the EPA issued a Final Rule (88 FR 10468) to revise the Act (40 CFR Part 770). The latest Final Rule contains several important changes to the Act. It:

  • Updates the incorporation by reference of several voluntary consensus standards (see Table 1 below)
  • Adds a reference to section 6.2.2 under ISO/IEC 17065:2021, which allows a third party certifier (TPC) to utilize external evaluation resources, such as contracting out inspections to a third party in order to complete the certification process
  • Formally accepts the option of a TPC to perform a remote quarterly inspection, via live remote technology operating as directed by the TPC, in lieu of the in-person on-site inspection in the event a government entity has identified unsafe conditions, including but not limited to pandemics and epidemics, in the area of composite wood product manufacturing panel producer. The TPC must certify that a government entity identified the existence of unsafe conditions at the time of the inspection
  • Adds an intermediate range value of 0.038 and upper range value of 0.052 to the equation for when ASTM D6007-14 (small chamber) method is considered equivalent to the ASTM E1333-14 (large chamber) method (§770.20 (d)(1)(iii))

Highlights of the revisions on voluntary consensus standards in the latest update are summarized in Table 1.

88 FR 10468, February 21, 2023
Environmental Protection Agency, 40 CFR 770
Final Rule: Voluntary Consensus Standards Update; Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products

EntryNew StandardCurrent Standard
1ANSI A208.1-2022 ‘Particleboard’ANSI A208.1-2016
2ANSI A208.2-2022 ‘Medium-density fiberboard’ANSI A208.2-2016
3ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2020 ‘Hardwood plywood’ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2016
4ASTM D5456-21e1 ‘Structural composite lumber’ASTM D5456-14b
5ASTM D5055-19e1 ‘Prefabricated wood I-joists’ASTM D5055-16
6*BS EN ISO 12460-3:2020 ‘Wood-based panels. Determination of formaldehyde release by gas analysis method’

ISO 12460-3:2020(E) ‘Wood-based panels – Determination of formaldehyde release – Part 3: gas analysis method’
BS EN ISO 12460-3:2015 (E)
7*JIS A 1460:2021(E) ’24-hour desiccator method’JIS A 1460:2015(E)
8PS 1-19 ‘Structural plywood’PS 1-09
9PS 2-18 ‘Structural panels’PS 2-10

*Quality control testing methods

Table 1

According to the final rule, the revisions will become effective on March 23, 2023

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