SGS Issues White Paper to Help Manufacturers with US Formaldehyde in Composite Wood Rules

Manufacturers of composite wood products destined for US markets must comply with new formaldehyde emission standards. SGS has created a white paper to help stakeholders understand and comply with the new regulations.
( | Press Release | 2018-07-22 21:04:44 )
SGS has published a white paper, entitled “Understanding the US Formaldehyde Requirements to Market Compliant Composite Wood Products”, to help manufacturers and importers of composite wood products understand US regulations.

Formaldehyde is classified as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Exposure can result in a variety of effects, including itching and stinging to the eyes, respiratory problems, skin dermatitis, nausea and headaches. stems from the fact these products often use adhesives containing urea-formaldehyde resins.

The EPA’s Final Rule for the Act imposes testing conditions upon manufacturers and requires all economic operators along the supply chain – fabricators, importers, distributors and retailers – to comply with requirements on documentation and record keeping. In addition, the Final Rule makes demands upon specific economic operatives relating to requirements over labeling and importation certification.

The Act covers:
• Hardwood Plywood-Composite Core (HWPW-CC)
• Hardwood Plywood-Veneer Core (HWPW-VC)
• Particleboards (PBs)
• Medium Density Fiberboards (MDFs)
• Thin-MDFs
• Laminated products within the meaning of HWPW (manufactured using a resin other than phenol formaldehyde (PF) or no added-formaldehyde (NAF) to attach the veneer to a compliant platform)
• Finished goods manufactured using composite wood products, e.g. children’s wooden toys, counter tops, flooring, picture frames, shelving, travel trailers and campers, and fabricated wood buildings

NB. If the wood panels have no-added formaldehyde (NAF) or ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins, they may qualify for reduced testing and certification exemptions.

Formaldehyde Emission Standards
Emissions standards introduced under the Act are identical to those in Phase 2 of the Airborne Toxic Control Measures (ATCM) introduced by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). They can be tested using ASTM E1333 (large chamber) or ASTM D6007 (small chamber). The requirement and compliance date for each type of composite wood product is:
• HWPW-VC or HWPW-CC - ≤ 0.05 ppm June 1, 2018
• PB - ≤ 0.09 ppm June 1, 2018
• MDF - ≤ 0.11 ppm June 1, 2018
• Thin-MDF (≤ 8mm thickness) - ≤ 0.13 ppm June 1, 2018
• Laminated products within the meaning of HWPW - ≤ 0.05 ppm March 22, 2024

The Act requires products to be tested by an EPA TSCA Title VI third-party certifier (TPC). Certification involves:
• Contact information
• Manufacturer’s quality control manual
• Contact information for the quality control (QC) manager
• List of products and their resin systems
• At least 5 formaldehyde test results carried out by an EPA TSCA Title VI TPC using a specified method
• Results of at least 5 quality control tests
• Linear regression equation and correlation data
• Results of the initial onsite inspection by an EPA TSCA Title VI TPC

The TPC is also required to perform quarterly inspections of panel manufacturers and conduct emission tests, and the manufacturer must monitor day-to-day operations for consistency using one of several small-scale methods, e.g. ASTM D6007 (small chamber) or Dynamic Micro Chamber (DMC).

Since the requirements for the Act are the same as those for CARB, the EPA has allowed TPCs that are currently CARB-approved to be recognized as EPA-approved TSCA Title VI TPC until March 22, 2019. After this date, CARB-TPCs must be fully accredited.

SGS Formaldehyde Emission Certification Services
SGS has EPA-recognized laboratories operating in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Taiwan. In addition, its global network of specialists can help manufacturers and importers understand the complexities of US regulations and assist with compliance. Their comprehensive range of services includes:
• Consultancy on how the Act applies to your composite wood products
• Certification of panel manufacturers (mills), including gap assessments, setting up an in-house lab and quality control system, correlation testing and quality control personnel
• Factory inspection services
• Correct labeling procedures
• Documentation and record keeping

To learn more about SGS Formaldehyde Emission Certification Services, download our new white paper: ( contact)

For more information, please contact:

Hing Wo Tsang Ph.D
Global Information and Innovation Manager
Tel: (+852) 2774 7420

About SGS
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.

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Ben Christie

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