SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 118/17

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The US EPA has published a Direct Final Rule for compliant composite wood products to be labeled TSCA compliant. Unless adverse comments are received, this rule 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 directed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop regulations to implement the Act.

In December 2016, the US EPA published a Final Rule to implement the 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 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).

On July 11, 2017, the US EPA published a Direct Final Rule (DFR [2]) in the Federal Register to allow compliant composite wood products and finished goods that were manufactured before December 12, 2017 to be labeled as Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title VI Compliant. According to the DFR, compliant panels and finished goods could be voluntarily labeled as compliant as soon as compliance can be achieved.

Unless adverse comments are received by July 26, 2017, this DFR will become effective on August 25, 2017.

Highlights of the DFR 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 Could be (voluntarily) labeled as:Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title VI Compliant August 25, 2017

In May 2017, we reported [3] the EPA published a direct final rule and a proposed rule to extend the compliance dates for:

  • Formaldehyde emission standards
  • Record keeping and labeling provisions
  • Import certification
  • The end of the transitional period for California Air Resources Board-TPCs (CARB-TPCs)
  • Manufacturers of laminated products

The EPA has recently withdrawn this DFR [4] for these extended compliance dates. The original compliance dates, starting December 12, 2017, will remain in effect until further final action by the EPA. 

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.


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

For enquiries, please contact:

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

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