EPA Publishes Final Rule Updating Formaldehyde Voluntary Standards

October 23, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a direct final rule Oct. 25 to update several voluntary consensus standards in the rule governing Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products.

These updates apply to emission testing methods and regulated composite wood product construction characteristics. The voluntary consensus standards were updated, withdrawn or superseded to because of new information, technology, and methodology, EPA wrote.

“KCMA and its allied trade associations have worked closely with the EPA over the last six months to secure this correction,” said Betsy Natz, KCMA’s Chief Executive Officer.

EPA’s final rule takes effect December 11, unless EPA receives adverse comments on it by November 9.

The final rule applies to U.S. manufacturers, importers, sellers, or certifiers of hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard or products containing these composite wood materials.

The direct final rule corrects the rule at 40 CFR § 770.20(b) by allowing the formaldehyde emissions mill quality control test methods to correlate to either the ASTM E1333-14 test method, or if shown to be equivalent, the ASTM D6007-14 test method. This correlation was inadvertently omitted from the original final rule, EPA wrote.

The correction aligns the mill quality control testing requirements with the California Air Resources Board standards allowing mill quality control tests to be correlated to the less expensive ASTM D6007-14 test method.

In the event that EPA receives an adverse comment on the direct final rule and must publish a proposal, EPA also published a companion notice of proposed rulemaking to update the voluntary consensus standards.

The voluntary consensus standards update follows the EPA’s final rule Sep. 25 to extend the compliance dates for the final Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products.   The compliance date for the emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions was pushed back to Dec. 12, 2018. The date for import certification provisions was extended to March 22, 2019.

To read the direct final rule updating the formaldehyde voluntary consensus standards in the Federal Register, click here