Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products

Rule Summary

On December 12, 2016, EPA published in the Federal Register a final rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde emissions from certain wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States.

EPA worked with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to help ensure the final national rule is consistent with California’s requirements for composite wood products. 

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

One year after the rule is published composite wood products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States will need to 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. 

By including provisions for laminated products, product testing requirements, labeling, recordkeeping, and import certification, the final rule ensures that hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard products sold, supplied, offered for sale, imported to, or manufactured in the United States are in compliance with the emission standards.

The final rule also establishes a third-party certification program for laboratory testing and oversight of formaldehyde emissions from manufactured and/or imported composite wood products.

Rule Amendments

Compliance Date Amendments

On May 24, 2017, EPA issued a direct final rule that would extend the compliance dates in the formaldehyde final rule. Read the Federal Register notice announcing the direct final rule and opening a 15-day comment period.

The direct final rule would extend:

  • The date for the emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions from December 12, 2017 to March 22, 2018;
  • The date for import certification provisions from December 12, 2018 to March 22, 2019;
  • The conclusion of the transition period for CARB Third-Party Certifiers (TPCs) from December 12, 2018 to March 22, 2019; and
  • The date for laminated product producer provisions from December 12, 2023 to March 22, 2024.

Note that laminated product producers would still be required to comply with applicable fabricator provisions beginning March 22, 2018.

Additionally, EPA has published a proposed rule to extend the above compliance dates. Read the Federal Register notice announcing the proposed rule and opening a 15-day comment period.

If the Agency receives no adverse comments on the direct final rule or proposed rule, EPA will take no further action on the proposed rule, and the direct final rule will become effective. If EPA receives relevant, adverse comments on either rule, the Agency will withdraw the direct final rule and proceed with the proposed rule through the normal rulemaking process.

Rule History

On July 7, 2010, President Obama signed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act into law. On June 10, 2013, EPA proposed two regulations:

The two proposed rules were combined for the final rule to consolidate requirements into a single rule to help regulated entities and other interested parties better understand how various requirements are related without having to cross-reference between two separate rules.

Additional Resources

Visit our Resources, Guidance Materials for the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Rule page for additional information about the formaldehyde emission standards rule including factsheets, questions and answers and small entitiy compliance guides.