SAFEGUARDS |Hardlines NO. 091/17

SafeGuardS Hardwood floor

The US EPA has issued two rules to extend the compliance dates relating to formaldehyde emission standards in composite wood products. Unless adverse comments are received, the direct final rule will become effective on July 10, 2017.

In December 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Final Rule to implement ‘The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act’. This 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, which were to become effective in December 2017, 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 May 2017, the EPA published a direct final rule [2] and a proposed rule [3] in the Federal Register to extend the compliance dates in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title VI final rule for:

  • Formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products
  • Record keeping and labeling provisions
  • Import certification
  • The end of the transitional period for CARB-TPCs. This has been extended from December 12, 2018 to March 22, 2019.
  • Producers of laminated products

The publication of the proposed rule has opened a 15-day comment period; until June 8, 2017.

According to the direct final rule, extension of these compliance dates and the transitional period for CARB-TPCs provide regulatory flexibility, reduces compliance burdens and prevents disruptions to supply chains.

Unless adverse comments are received by June 8, 2017, this direct final rule will become effective on July 10, 2017.

Highlights of certain provisions in the direct final rule are summarized in Table 1.

US EPA, 40 CFR Part 770
Compliance Date Extension; Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products
Direct Final Rule, Federal Register, 23735, May 24, 2017
Item Provision Effective Date New Effective Date

Formaldehyde emission standards:

  • HWPW-CC = 0.05 ppm
  • HWPW-VC = 0.05 ppm
  • PB = 0.09 ppm
  • MDF = 0.11 ppm
  • Thin-MDF = 0.13 ppm

Record keeping and labeling

December 12, 2017 March 22, 2018
2 Import certification December 12, 2018 March 22, 2019
3 Producers of laminated products December 12, 2023 March 22, 2024


  •  Unless adverse comments are received by June 8, 2017, this Direct Final Rule will become effective on July 10, 2017.

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 Hardlines Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry: subscribe to SafeGuardS!

© SGS Group Management SA - 2017 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.