The US EPA has issued a proposed rule to revise its formaldehyde standards for composite wood under TSCA to meet modern-day requirements and to further align with California. Comments are accepted until April 28, 2022.
In 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Final Rule to implement the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products 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 (PB) and medium-density fiberboards (MDF), 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 (AB) and Third-party Certifiers (TPC). 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 March 29, 2022, the EPA issued a ‘Proposed Rule’ in the Federal Register (87 FR 17963) to revise several sections of 40 CFR Part 770 – Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood. This proposed rule contains, inter alia, several important changes:
- Updates several voluntary consensus standards under § 770.99 to their latest versions (see Table 1 below)
- Allows TPC to carry out (live) remote quarterly inspections, such as video/teleconferences, with the panel producer quality manager during periods of unsafe conditions (e.g., natural disasters, outbreaks, political unrests, epidemics and pandemics) to select, package, sign and ship the TPC panels/samples according to § 770.20(c) ‘Frequency of Testing’
- Clarifies data requirements for no added formaldehyde-based resins (NAF-based resins, § 770.17) and ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde resins (ULEF resins, § 770.18) to fully align with the CARB control data
- Clarifies that all panels must be tested in an unfinished condition, before the application of a topcoat or finishing, as soon as possible after their production, but no later than 30 calendar days after the samples were produced, for consistency with § 770.20(c)(3) and CARB
- Adds an intermediate range value of 0.038 and an upper range value of 0.052 for C in the equation for equivalence of ASTM D6007-14 with ASTM E1333-14 (§ 770.20 ‘Equivalence Determination’) to fully align with CARB
Highlights of updates to voluntary consensus standards in the proposed rule are summarized in Table 1.
87 FR 17963, March 29, 2022
Proposed New Standard
|1||ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2016||ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2020 ‘Hardwood and decorative hardwood’|
|2||ASTM D5055-16||ASTM D5055-19e1 ‘Standard specification for establishing and monitoring structural capacities of prefabricated wood I-joists’|
|3||ASTM D5456-14b||ASTM D5456-21e1 ‘Standard specification for evaluation of structural composite lumber products’|
|4||BS EN ISO 12460-3:2015(E)||BS EN ISO 12460-3:2020 ‘Wood-based panels. Determination of formaldehyde release by Gas analysis method’|
ISO 12460-3:2020 ‘Wood-based panels – Determination of formaldehyde release – Part 3: gas analysis method’
|5||JIS A 1460:2015(E)||JIS A 1460:2021|
|6||PS-1-09||PS-1-19 ‘Structural plywood’|
|7||PS-2-10||PS-2-18 ‘Performance standard for wood structural panels’|
According to the proposed rule, comments will be accepted until April 28, 2022.
SGS is committed to providing information about development in regulations for consumer products as complimentary services. Through a global network of laboratories, SGS provides a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Contact us for more information or visit our website.
For inquiries, please contact:
Dr. Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: (+852) 2774 7420
© SGS Société Générale de surveillance SA - 2022 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Société Générale de surveillance 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.