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EPA/OCSPP RIN: 2070-AJ92 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products 
Abstract: On July 7, 2010, the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act was enacted as Title VI of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. 2697, and requires that EPA promulgate implementing regulations to establish specific formaldehyde emission limits for hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard, which limits are identical to the California emission limits for these products. On June 10, 2013, EPA proposed regulations to implement emissions standards established by TSCA Title VI for composite wood products sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured in the United States. Pursuant to TSCA section 3(7), the definition of "manufacture" includes import. As required by Title VI, these regulations apply to hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard. TSCA Title VI also directs EPA to promulgate supplementary provisions to ensure compliance with the emissions standards, including provisions related to labeling; chain of custody requirements; sell-through provisions; ULEF resins; no-added formaldehyde-based resins; finished goods; third-party testing and certification; auditing and reporting of third-party certifiers; recordkeeping; enforcement; laminated products; and exceptions from the requirements of regulations promulgated pursuant to this subsection for products and components containing de minimis amounts of composite wood products. A separate Regulatory Agenda entry (RIN 2070-AJ44) addresses requirements for accrediting bodies and third-party certifiers. 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Private Sector 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 770   
Legal Authority: 15 USC 2697    TSCA section 601   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final  Statutory  Statutory Deadline  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). In addition, Congress directed EPA to consider a number of elements for inclusion in implementing the regulations. These elements include: labeling, chain of custody requirements, sell-through provisions, ultra low-emitting formaldehyde resins, no added formaldehyde-based resins, finished goods, third-party testing and certification, auditing and reporting of TPCs, recordkeeping, enforcement, laminated products, and exceptions from the requirements of regulations promulgated for products and components containing de minimis amounts of composite wood products. TSCA Title VI requires EPA to promulgate implementing regulations by January 1, 2013.

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, the notice of proposed rulemaking addresses the alternatives considered by EPA for the implementation of the statutory emission limits for various provisions of the rule. Most of these alternatives would have applied to both small and large entities but, given the number of small entities in the affected industries, some of these alternatives could affect many small entities. EPA made a concerted effort to keep the costs and burdens associated with this rule as low as possible while still ensuring compliance with the TSCA Title VI emissions standards. In developing the proposed rule, EPA considered the statutory requirements and the benefits from protection of human health and the environment, as well as the compliance costs imposed by the rule, both in general and on small entities. EPA took a number of steps to reduce the economic impacts of the rule where doing so was consistent with the statutory mandate.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: EPA prepared an analysis of the potential impacts associated with the proposed rulemaking. This analysis is summarized in greater detail in Unit V.A. of the preamble for the proposed rule, and is briefly summarized here. Benefits: This proposed rule will reduce exposures to formaldehyde, resulting in benefits from avoided adverse health effects. For the subset of health effects where the results were quantified, the estimated annualized benefits (due to avoided incidence of eye irritation and nasopharyngeal cancer) are $20 million to $48 million per year using a 3% discount rate, and $9 million to $23 million per year using a 7% discount rate. There are additional unquantified benefits due to other avoided health effects. Costs: The monetized costs of this proposed rule are estimated at $72 million to $81 million per year using a 3% discount rate, and $80 million to $89 million per year using a 7% discount rate. Small Entity Impacts: This proposed rule is estimated to impact nearly 879,000 small businesses: Over 851,000 have costs impacts less than 1% of revenues, over 23,000 firms have impacts between 1% and 3%, and over 4,000 firms have impacts greater than 3% of revenues. Most firms with impacts over 1% have annualized costs of less than $250 per year. Effects on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Government entities are not expected to be subject to the proposed requirements, which apply to entities that manufacture, fabricate, distribute, or sell composite wood products. The proposed rule does not have a significant intergovernmental mandate, significant or unique effect on small governments, or have Federalism implications. Environmental Justice and Protection of Children: This proposed rule is expected to increase the level of environmental protection for all affected populations without having any disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on any population, including any minority or low-income population or children.

Risks: 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 respiratory related effects. In addition, formaldehyde is a by-product of human metabolism; therefore, endogenous levels are present in the body.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  06/10/2013  78 FR 34820   
NPRM Comment Period End With Extension  10/09/2013  78 FR 44089   
Final Rule  09/00/2014 
Additional Information: Docket #: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2012-0018. Split from RIN 2070-AJ44.
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:   Public Comment URL:!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPPT-2012-0018-0001  
Sectors Affected: 321211 Hardwood Veneer and Plywood Manufacturing; 321212 Softwood Veneer and Plywood Manufacturing; 321213 Engineered Wood Member (except Truss) Manufacturing; 321219 Reconstituted Wood Product Manufacturing; 321991 Manufactured Home (Mobile Home) Manufacturing; 321992 Prefabricated Wood Building Manufacturing; 325199 All Other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing; 325211 Plastics Material and Resin Manufacturing; 336213 Motor Home Manufacturing; 336214 Travel Trailer and Camper Manufacturing; 337110 Wood Kitchen Cabinet and Countertop Manufacturing; 337121 Upholstered Household Furniture Manufacturing; 337122 Nonupholstered Wood Household Furniture Manufacturing; 337127 Institutional Furniture Manufacturing; 337129 Wood Television, Radio, and Sewing Machine Cabinet Manufacturing; 337211 Wood Office Furniture Manufacturing; 337212 Custom Architectural Woodwork and Millwork Manufacturing; 337215 Showcase, Partition, Shelving, and Locker Manufacturing; 423110 Automobile and Other Motor Vehicle Merchant Wholesalers; 423210 Furniture Merchant Wholesalers; 423310 Lumber, Plywood, Millwork, and Wood Panel Merchant Wholesalers; 423390 Other Construction Material Merchant Wholesalers; 441210 Recreational Vehicle Dealers; 442110 Furniture Stores; 444110 Home Centers; 444130 Hardware Stores; 444190 Other Building Material Dealers; 453930 Manufactured (Mobile) Home Dealers 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Cindy Wheeler
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-0484

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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