Composite wood products, including hardwood plywood, medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard are used in a variety of products such as flooring, furniture, cabinetry and building materials. A national standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, designed to closely mirror the existing standards established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), has been in development since 2010.

Issued on December 12, 2016, EPA delayed the TSCA Title VI final rule’s effective date to comply with the Trump Administration’s Executive Memorandum that directed U.S. Federal agencies to delay implementing new regulatory requirements until further review from incoming agency officials.

Following an additional delay in March, 2017, the final rule took effect on May 22, 2017.

Due to the delays, EPA has proposed extending the compliance dates for the final rule by 60 days to allow industry time to review the requirements. The proposed extensions are set forth in two Federal Register notices: a direct final rule, and a proposed rule.

Direct final rules are traditionally used for non-controversial changes. If no adverse comments are received by EPA, the rule will take effect. However, if the Agency receives substantive adverse comments, it may withdraw the rule and proceed with a traditional rulemaking process.

Comments on both the direct final and proposed rules are due June 8. If the Agency does not receive any adverse comments, the final rule delaying the formaldehyde rule’s implementation will take effect on July 10 without further notice, and no further action will be taken on the proposed rule.

The dates as proposed by EPA are as follows:

  • Under the proposed rule, the December 12, 2017 effective date for emissions standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions would be extended to March 22, 2018.
    • These standards require that composite wood products subject to the regulation meet the emissions requirements set forth in the law (as validated by accredited Third Party Certifiers), are labeled as TSCA Title VI Compliant, and that proper records are kept by panel producers and finished goods manufacturers.
  • Under the proposed rule, the December 12, 2018 effective date for certification provisions of imports would be extended to March 22, 2019.
    • Importers of articles that are regulated composite wood products would have until March 22, 2019 to start filing TSCA Section 13 declaration forms as required under “Chemical Substances in Bulk and As Part of Mixtures and Articles,” found at 19 CFR 12.118 through 12.127.
  • Under the proposed rule, the December 12, 2023 effective date for certification provisions applicable to laminated product producers would be extended to March 22, 2024.
    • Laminated products using regulated composite wood materials are subject to third party testing requirements, unless switched to phenol formaldehyde or no-added formaldehyde (NAF) resins.

UL Environment is currently a CARB Third Party Certifier (TPC) and is qualified to perform TSCA Title VI certification services through March 22, 2019 under the current rule’s provisions. UL Environment is currently in the process to be recognized by EPA as a TSCA Title VI Third Party Certifier.

We look forward to utilizing our global testing, inspection, and advisory services to help firms comply with EPA’s new requirements and understand how to take ‘reasonable prudent precautions’ to mitigate risk in their supply chain.

We’ve developed materials to help you understand the impact of these new requirements. Check out our white paper, Formaldehyde in Composite Wood Products: Meeting the New U.S. EPA Regulations.