Canada has implemented measures to regulate formaldehyde in composite wood panels and laminated products as well as finished goods containing such products. The new law will enter into force on January 7, 2023.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer ProductsNO. 097/21

 SG 09721 Wood

On July 7, 2021, Canada published its Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products Regulations (the Regulation, SOR/2021-148). This landmark piece of legislation mirrors many of the elements from the US Toxic Substances Control Act Title VI ‘Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products’ (TSCA Title VI) in regulating hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB), medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and laminated products.

The Regulation includes provisions relating to, inter alia, the following:

  • Formaldehyde emission standards in composite wood panels and laminated products (see Table 1 below) – these are identical to those in TSCA Title VI
  • An accredited laboratory is required to test a manufacturer’s composite wood panel or laminated product specimen in accordance with the requirements set out in ASTM E1333 or, subject to establishing equivalence, ASTM D6007, and third-party certifier (TPC) to verify the test:
    • The frequency of selection, testing and verification must be once every quarter on an annual basis during the following periods: 1) January 1 to March 31 2) April 1 to June 30 3) July 1 to September 30 and 4) October 1 to December 31
  • A list of products falling outside the scope of the regulation 
  • Incentives for composite wood panels and laminated products where no-added formaldehyde resins (NAF resins) or ultra-low emitting formaldehyde resins (ULEF resins) are used, provided certain emission or quality control requirements are met
  • Testing for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood panels or laminated products must be conducted by a laboratory that is ISO/IEC 17025 accredited by an accrediting body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Arrangement (ILAC MRA), or under the Environmental Quality Act (CQLR), c. Q-2. The scope of the laboratory’s accreditation must also include the testing of formaldehyde emissions from composite wood panels or laminated products
  • A TPC must be ISO/IEC 17065 accredited by an accreditation body that is a signatory to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MRA) or have a membership in one of the regional accreditation groups that is recognized by the IAF
  • A manufacturer may produce a declaration of certification (DoC) for a product type that it produces if it has documentation demonstrating that the product is certified under TSCA Title VI or meets paragraph 19(1)(b)
  • A manufacturer or importer of composite wood panels must ensure that a stamp, tag or sticker in English and French is securely affixed to such panels, the bundle that contains them or their packaging 
  • A manufacturer or importer of laminated products, component parts or finished goods (other composite wood products) must affix a label in English and French on these products, the bundle that contains them or their packaging
  • Labeling of a composite wood product is not required if the area of its largest surface area is less than or equal to 929 cm² (144 square inches (144 in²))
  • Obligations for economic operators, including
    • Manufacturers of panels or laminated products
    • Manufacturers of exempted laminated products
    • Importers of composite wood panels or laminated products
    • Manufacturers or importers of component parts or finished goods
    • Sellers of composite wood products
  • Economic operators are to maintain their respective records in English or French, or both languages for five years at one of the following places:
    • The economic operator’s principal place of business in Canada, or
    • Any place in Canada where the record can be inspected, if the economic operator notifies the Minister of the civic address of that place within 30 days after the day on which the record is moved to that place for retention
  • Purchaser (upon request): the manufacturer must furnish any of the information or documents referred to in paragraph (1)(a) to a person that purchases a composite wood panel or laminated product from the manufacturer

The Regulation will come into force on January 7, 2023 but the requirements for laminated products will apply from January 7, 2028.

Highlights of formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood panels and laminated products in the Regulation are summarized in Table 1.

SG 09721 FINAL Table 

Table 1

SGS technical experts have extensive knowledge and testing experience in materials and articles in contact with food. They work to ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials, paving the way for compliance. From overall migration tests to expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review, SGS is the partner to trust. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Discover more on our website and read our brochure.   

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