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EU Proposes to Regulate Formaldehyde in Articles

SafeGuardSAutomotive, EE Restricted Substances, DIY Tools and Hardware, HG Restricted Substances, Sports and Leisure, Stationery and Office Supplies, Personal and Protective Equipment, Footwear and Leather Products, Home Textiles, Jewelry Bags and Accessories, SL Restricted Substances, Toys and Juvenile Products17 May 2022

The European Union has issued draft legislation to restrict formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing substances in articles. The new law would be implemented in two phases, starting 36 months after the date of entry into force (potentially 2026).

On May 2, 2022, the World Trade Organization (WTO) circulated a notification from the European Union (EU) on its intention to regulate formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing substances in articles. 

The draft regulation, attached to WTO document number 22-3408 and notified under G/TBT/N/EU/888, contains several important points and provisions:

  • Regulates intentionally added formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing substances in wood-based articles and furniture, articles other than wood-based articles and furniture, as well as the interior of vehicles
  • Provides a descriptive chamber method in the Appendix for wood-based articles and furniture, as well as other articles
  • Stipulates the use of ISO 12219-1 and ISO 12219-10, or an equivalent method, for the interior of vehicles, a category that includes trucks and buses (Appendix)
  • Exempts certain products (see Table 1)
  • Clarifies that toys for children of all ages are within the scope of restrictions (preamble, point 35)

The proposal would add a new entry to Annex XVII of Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 ‘Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals’ (Annex XVII of REACH).

Per the WTO notification, it is proposed that the draft regulation is:

  • Adopted in Q4 of 2022
  • Brought into force 20 days from its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. 

Highlights of the draft regulation are summarized in Table 1.

WTO Document Number 22-3408, May 2, 2022
Draft Regulation Amending Annex XVII of Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 ‘Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasing Substances’




Effective Date

Wood-based articles and furniture*Chamber method as described in Appendix
0.062 mg/m³
36 months after date of entry into force
(Potentially 2026)
Articles other than wood-based articles and furniture*
0.08 mg/m³
Vehicle interiors**ISO 12219-1,
ISO 12219-10, or equivalent, as described in Appendix
0.062 mg/m³
48 months after date of entry into force
(Potentially 2027)
*1) Articles only for outdoor use under reasonably foreseeable conditions, 2) articles exclusively for industrial and professional use unless there is exposure to the general public under foreseeable use, 3) articles falling under the scope of entry 72 to Annex XVII of REACH, 4) biocidal products (Regulation (EU) 528/2012), 5) medical devices (Regulation (EU) 2017/745), 6) personal protective equipment (PPE, Regulation (EU) 2016/425), 7) food contact materials and articles (Regulation (EU) 1935/2004) and 8) second-hand articles  
**Road vehicles exclusively for industrial and professional use unless exposure there is exposure to the general public under foreseeable conditions of use

Table 1

Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of formaldehyde-based resins, thermoplastics and other chemicals, which are further used in a wide variety of applications. Formaldehyde-based resins are primarily used in the production of wood-based panels, wood-based products such as furniture and flooring, wallpaper, foam, parts for vehicles and aeroplanes, as well as textile and leather products.

SGS keeps interested parties informed about the latest developments relating to the REACH regulation. Our expertise, combined with consultancy services and experience in consumer product supply chains, provides a central point of contact for global solutions. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Discover more on our website, read our brochure and contact us if you would like to learn more about how SGS can support your REACH compliance activities. 

For inquiries, please contact:

Dr. Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: (+852) 2774 7420

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