The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a new compliance date of June 1, 2018, for its formaldehyde emissions regulation of composite wood products.

The EPA set the new compliance date after a federal court in California signed an agreement in March between the agency, the Sierra Club and industry groups, including the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). Composite wood products and finished goods can be found in many types of doors and windows. For example, products containing formaldehyde are used to bond door and window components through processes such as  finger jointing and  face-and-edge gluing. They’re also used to bind the composite wood panels  used for door cores or in window moldings.

The agreement says that after June 1, 2018, composite wood products must meet the requirements of the formaldehyde rule, whether manufactured or imported. However, composite wood products and finished goods that comply with the California Air Resources Board’s “CARB Phase 2” will be considered certified under the regulation until March 22, 2019. The emissions requirements in the CARB Phase 2 regulation are the same as those in the federal regulation (TSCA Title VI).

“Ensuring that CARB Phase 2 compliance be considered certified under the federal regulation until March of next year was essential to our support of the agreement,” said Jeff Inks, WDMA senior vice president of advocacy. “CARB-compliant products which meet the EPA emissions requirements are already prevalent and extensively used in finished goods, so much of the concern was ensuring adequate time for manufacturers to certify products and finished goods as compliant under EPA’s new certification and labeling requirements.”

The Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010 set emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products. It ordered EPA to set a rule on implementing and enforcing provisions covering composite wood products.

The rule states that composite wood products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured or imported in the United States must be labeled as TSCA Title VI-compliant. These products include hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard, as well as household and other finished goods containing these products, such as doors, windows, moulding and trim.

EPA also set testing requirements to ensure that products comply with those standards, establish eligibility requirements for third-party certifiers, and set eligibility requirements for accreditation bodies to be recognized by EPA that will accredit the third-party certifiers. The new rule also includes exemptions for products made with ultra-low formaldehyde or no-added formaldehyde resins and new requirements for product labeling, recordkeeping and enforcement.

Formaldehyde exposure can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, other respiratory symptoms and cancer.

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