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View EO 12866 Meetings Printer-Friendly Version     Download RIN Data in XML

EPA/OCSPP RIN: 2070-AJ44 Publication ID: 2012 
Title: Formaldehyde; Third-Party Certification Framework for the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products 
Abstract: On July 7, 2010, the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act was enacted. This law amends Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to establish specific formaldehyde emission limits for hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard, which are identical to the California emission limits for these products. The law further requires EPA to promulgate implementing regulations by January 1, 2013. This rulemaking includes provisions related to third-party testing and certification. EPA intends to propose a third-party certification program that will help ensure compliance with the emissions standards. A separate Regulatory Agenda entry (RIN 2070-AJ92) covers the other regulations to implement the statutory formaldehyde emission standards for hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured (including imported) in the United States. 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 770   
Legal Authority: 15 USC 2697    TSCA sec 601   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final  Statutory  Deadline for promulgation of regulations, per 15 USC 2697(d).  01/01/2013 

Statement of Need: Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas at room temperature that has a strong odor. It is found in resins used in the manufacture of composite wood products (i.e., hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard). It is also found in household products such as glues, permanent press fabrics, carpets, antiseptics, medicines, cosmetics, dishwashing liquids, fabric softeners, shoe care agents, lacquers, plastics, and paper product coatings. It is a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. Examples of sources of formaldehyde gas inside homes include cigarette smoke, unvented, fuel-burning appliances (gas stoves, kerosene space heaters), and composite wood products made using formaldehyde-based resins.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which created title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), established formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products (hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and particleboard) sold, supplied, offered for sale or manufactured in the United States. Under TSCA title VI, manufacturers of composite wood products must comply with specific formaldehyde emission standards, and their compliance must be verified by a third-party certifier (TPC).

Alternatives: TSCA title VI establishes national formaldehyde emission limits for hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard and EPA has not been given the authority to change the limits. However, EPA will evaluate various implementation alternatives during the course of this rulemaking.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: EPA is currently evaluating the costs and benefits of this action.

Risks: EPA is currently evaluating the risks presented by exposure to formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products (hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and particleboard) in excess of the statutory limits. Formaldehyde is both an irritant and a known human carcinogen. Depending on concentration, formaldehyde can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, even when exposure is of relatively short duration. In the indoor environment, sensory reactions and various symptoms as a result of mucous membrane irritation are some potential effects from exposure. There is also evidence that formaldehyde may be associated with changes in pulmonary function and increased risk of asthma in children. In addition, formaldehyde is a by-product of human metabolism; therefore, endogenous levels are present in the body.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  12/03/2008  73 FR 73620   
Second ANPRM  01/30/2009  74 FR 5632   
NPRM  01/00/2013 
Final Rule  02/00/2014 
Additional Information: Docket #:ANPRM stage: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2008-0627; NPRM Stage: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-0380.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Information URL:  
Sectors Affected: 3212 Veneer, Plywood, and Engineered Wood Product Manufacturing; 321219 Reconstituted Wood Product Manufacturing; 541330 Engineering Services; 541380 Testing Laboratories; 541611 Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services; 541990 All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; 561990 All Other Support Services; 813910 Business Associations; 813920 Professional Organizations 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Erik Winchester
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 564-6450

Robert Courtnage
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
7404T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1081

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