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  • Allison Stalker

EPA Proposes Rules to Limit Formaldehyde Emissions

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed two new rules to protect Americans from formaldehyde exposure. The rules were created to meet the emissions standards set by the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act signed by President Obama on July 7, 2010.

The first proposed rule sets limits on allowable formaldehyde emissions from hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods containing these products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States. Additionally, this rule includes sections addressing testing requirements, laminated products, product labeling, chain of custody, recordkeeping, stockpiling and enforcement. It also includes various exemptions from testing for products made with no-added formaldehyde and ultra low-emitting formaldehyde resins.

The second proposed rule would require the creation of a third-party certification framework. This program would ensure that manufacturers of the above products are meeting all emission limits. Manufacturers would undergo an audit by a third party certifier and then receive a product certification. All third-party certifiers would be accredited and audited by the EPA.

“The proposed regulations reflect EPA’s continued efforts to protect the public from exposure to harmful chemicals in their daily lives,” said James J. Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once final, the rules will reduce the public’s exposure to this harmful chemical found in many products in our homes and workplaces.”

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas used to mainly manufacture building materials and household products. A person can become exposed to formaldehyde through breathing contaminated air. This exposure can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. High levels of exposure may cause some types of cancers. These rules will help to reduce the risk of formaldehyde exposure from composite wood products.

To learn more about the rules, click here.

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