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EPA/OCSPP RIN: 2070-AJ44 Publication ID: Fall 2014 
Title: Formaldehyde; Third-Party Certification Framework for the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products 

The EPA is developing a final rule under the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act was enacted in 2010 as title VI of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. 2697, 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. In 2013, the EPA issued a proposed rule under TSCA title VI to establish a framework for a TSCA title VI Third-Party Certification Program whereby third-party certifiers (TPCs) are accredited by accreditation bodies (ABs) so that they may certify composite wood product panel producers under TSCA title VI. The proposed rule identifies the roles and responsibilities of the groups involved in the TPC process (EPA, ABs, and TPCs), as well as the criteria for participation in the program. This proposal contains general requirements for TPCs, such as conducting and verifying formaldehyde emission tests, inspecting and auditing panel producers, and ensuring that panel producers' quality assurance and quality control procedures comply with the regulations set forth in the proposed rule. A separate Regulatory Agenda entry (RIN 2070-AJ92) covers the other proposed regulation 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.  EPA may decide to issue a single final rule to promulgate the final requirements related to both proposed rules.

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final 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:

TSCA title VI directs the EPA to promulgate regulations to implement the statutory formaldehyde emission standards and emissions testing requirements for composite wood products (hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard). It also directs the EPA to include regulatory provisions relating to third-party testing and certification in addition to the auditing and reporting of third-party certifiers.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The EPA is issuing this rule under title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. 2697, enacted in the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010, which provides authority for the EPA to ‘‘promulgate regulations to implement the standards required under subsection (b) of the Act. This provision includes authority to promulgate regulations relating to ‘‘third-party testing and certification' and ‘‘auditing and reporting of third-party certifiers."


As explained in the proposed rule, EPA considered a variety of alternatives. EPA considered directly operating a program for the accreditation of TPCs instead of entering into recognition agreements with ABs for that purpose. EPA considered increasing the amount of time for receiving accreditations under TSCA Title VI that was proposed to be afforded to TPCs that are already recognized by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In addition, EPA considered requiring TPCs to be reaccredited every 2 years (which would align with CARB’s requirements) instead of every 3 year years, and requiring Abs to audit TPCs once every 3 years instead of every 2 years (which would align with the proposed 3 year accreditation period). EPA also considered alternative retailer recordkeeping provisions for records related to the manufacture of component parts and finished goods prior to the effective date of the final rule. Finally, while the Agency did not propose mandatory electronic reporting for information that ABs and TPCs would be required to submit under the proposed rule, EPA sought public comment on such a requirement. EPA is evaluating public comments concerning the proposed rule and alternatives as it formulates the final  rule.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

Issued with the proposed rule, the Economic Analysis provides the EPA analysis of the potential costs and impacts associated with this rulemaking. As proposed, the annualized costs are estimated at approximately $34,000 per year using either a 3% discount rate or a 7% discount rate. This rule would impact an estimated 9 small entities, of which 8 are expected to have impacts of less than 1% of revenues or expenses, and 1 is expected to have impacts between 1% and 3%. State, Local, and Tribal Governments are not expected to be subject to the rule's requirements, which apply to third-party certifiers and accreditation bodies. The rule does not have a significant intergovernmental mandate, significant or unique effect on small governments, or have Federalism implications.


At room temperature, formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas that has a distinct, pungent smell. Small amounts of formaldehyde are naturally produced by plants, animals and humans. Formaldehyde is used widely by industry to manufacture a range of building materials and numerous household products. It is in resins used to manufacture some composite wood products (e.g., hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard). Everyone is exposed to small amounts of formaldehyde in the air, some foods, and products, including composite wood products. The primary way you can be exposed to formaldehyde is by breathing air containing it. Formaldehyde can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. High levels of exposure may cause some types of cancers.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  12/03/2008  73 FR 73620   
Second ANPRM  01/30/2009  74 FR 5632   
NPRM  06/10/2013  78 FR 34795   
NPRM Comment Period Extended  07/23/2013  78 FR 44090   
NPRM Comment Period Extended  08/21/2013  78 FR 51696   
Final Rule  02/00/2015 
Additional Information: Docket #:ANPRM stage: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2008-0627; NPRM Stage: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2011-0380.. See also RIN 2070-AJ92.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  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-2011-0380-0001  
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: No 
Agency Contact:
Robert Courtnage
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1081

Toiya Goodlow
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
7404T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-2305