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The US HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) has issued a final rule to streamline and align formaldehyde emission requirements for composite wood products in manufactured home constructions with the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act. The new rule will become effective on March 2, 2020.

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In 2016, the US 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).

This Final Rule, as amended, 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).

TSCA Title VI directs the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD) to update its legislation on formaldehyde emission standards to ensure consistency with TSCA Title VI.

On January 31, 2020, the US HUD issued a final rule (FR 85 5562) to implement the Act. This final rule amends two sections under Title 24 'Housing and Urban Development'. These amendments contain, inter alia, several important changes:

24 CFR 3280 ‘Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards’:

  • Incorporating ASTM D6007-14 (small chamber) and ASTM E1333-14 (large chamber) by reference
  • Data Plate to contain additional statement: The manufacturer certifies this home is compliant with the Title VI, Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Revising § 3280.308 ‘Formaldehyde emission controls for composite wood products’ with new language that is consistent with the Act, including definitions, formaldehyde emission levels (see Table 1 below), product certification and continuing qualification, panel labels, finished good certification labels, non-complying lots, stockpiling and third-party certification  
  • Deleting § 3280.309 relating to the provision for a health notice to be posted in every manufactured home
  • Revising § 3280.406 with new language, including definitions, testing requirements and samples for testing
  • Adding completely new § 3280.407 ‘Quality control testing, manuals, facilities, and personnel’     

24 CFR 3282 ‘Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations’:

  • Adding two new sections, § 3282.212 and § 3282.257, on maintaining documentation for three years for manufacturers (including importers), retailers and distributors

The final rule will become effective on March 2, 2020.

Highlights on a comparison of formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products between 24 CFR § 3280.308 and its final rule under 85 FR 5562 are summarized in Table 1.

 


Formaldehyde Emission Controls for Composite Wood Products
Citation 24 CFR § 3280.308 
Final Rule (85 FR 5562)
24 CFR §3280.308
Formaldehyde Emission
(composite wood product)
≤ 0.05 ppm (HWPW-CC or HWPW-VC)

≤ 0.09 ppm (PBs)

≤ 0.11 ppm (MDFs)

≤ 0.13 ppm (thin-MDFs)

≤ 0.2 ppm (plywood)

≤ 0.3 ppm (PBs)
Method ASTM E1333-14 (large chamber) or
ASTM D6007-14 (small chamber)
ASTM E1333-96 as described in 
24 CFR 3280.406 ‘Air chamber test method for certification and qualification of formaldehyde emission levels’
Effective date March 2, 2020
In force

Table 1

With its network of technical experts and EPA-recognized laboratories, SGS is committed to providing quality services globally in order for our clients to comply with the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act. To discover more about our services, visit our website or read our White Paper about the US Formaldehyde Requirements.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
Tel:(+852) 2774 7420

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