On July 7, 2010, President Obama signed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act into law. This legislation, which adds a Title VI to TSCA, establishes limits for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products: hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard. The national emission standards in the Act mirror standards previously established by the California Air Resources Board for products sold, offered for sale, supplied, used or manufactured for sale in California.
Congress directs EPA to promulgate final regulations implementing the Act by January 1, 2013. These regulations will address the following topics, among others:
- sell-through provisions (including a prohibition on stockpiling)
- ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins,
- no-added formaldehyde (NAF)-based resins
- finished goods
- third-party testing and certification,
- auditing of and reporting for third-party certifiers
- chain of custody requirements,
- or laminated products,
- hardboard, and
- other provisions aside from the emissions limits.
Rulemaking Under Title VI of TSCA
As part of its effort to develop proposed rules implementing the statute, EPA plans to conduct a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel to ensure that the economic impacts of the rules on small entities are considered. Learn more about the SBAR Panel.
In addition, EPA will work closely with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on issues related to manufactured housing. EPA expects to issue a proposed rule in early 2012.
In March 2008, EPA received a TSCA Section 21 citizens' petition (PDF) (106 pp, 4.44MB, About PDF), which requested that EPA adopt nationally a California regulation to control formaldehyde emissions from pressed wood products.
EPA carefully reviewed the citizens' petition, submitted by the Sierra Club, a number of other environmental organizations, as well as a large number of private citizens, and sought comment and additional information on the petition. Read EPA's letter to the petitioners (PDF) (1 pp, 84KB, About PDF) and the response to the petition in the Federal Register.
On December 3, 2008, EPA published in the Federal Register an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) that described EPA's initial steps to investigate potential actions to protect against risks posed by formaldehyde emitted from pressed wood products used in manufactured homes and other places. It also requested comment, information and data relating to formaldehyde emissions from pressed wood products. The Agency held six public meetings with stakeholders in 2009 to solicit additional input on the formaldehyde ANPRM.