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Top 10 Takeaways from EPA Formaldehyde Rule
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November 4, 2016

Posted By Cindy L. Squires, Esq., Wednesday, December 14, 2016

If your company imports, sells, or utilizes wood panel products, it is critical that you understand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new final rule implementing the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act. The final version of this regulation was published on December 12, 2016, which triggers the sequence of effective dates under the rule which are outlined in Table 1 here.

 

In an effort to help IWPA Members prepare for this new regulation we hosted EPA for a discussion at our Mid-Year Member Meeting and hosted a webinar on September 23rd. Webinar participants heard from Mark Duvall, an attorney from the environmental law firm Beveridge & Diamond. IWPA Members have access to the slides from EPA’s and Mr. Duvall’s presentations on IWPA’s Members-only Formaldehyde Regulations in Composite Wood Products resources page here. Here are our Top 10 Takeaways from the rule.

 

#1 – Who is Impacted?  The composite wood products supply chain will be impacted by this regulation - producers, fabricators, distributors, retailers, and importers. If your business falls into one of these categories, make sure you are aware of your responsibilities.

 

#2 – What Products are Covered?  Regulated composite wood products are hardwood plywood made with a veneer core or composite core, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard. Laminate products are covered after seven years.

 

#3 – What Products are Not Covered?  There are exemptions -

  • hardboard, structural plywood, structural panels, structural composite lumber, and oriented strand board
  • military-specified plywood
  • curved plywood
  • glued laminated timber
  • prefabricated wood I-joists and finger-jointed lumber
  • wood packaging
  • site-built buildings or improvements
  • certain windows and exterior doors

The rule also excludes composite wood products used in new vehicles, boats, and airplane and aerospace craft.

 

#4 – What is the Compliance Timeline? The bulk of the rule goes into effect one year after it is published in the Federal Register. After that date only TSCA certified composite wood products can be sold in the U.S.  In two years importers will have to file a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) import certification. Also, Third Party Certifiers will be required to obtain TSCA accreditation.

 

#5 – What are the Emission Standards? The EPA standards mirror CARB 2.

 

#6 – What are the Labeling Requirements? Under the rule, panels or bundles of panels must be labeled with identifying information such as producer’s name, lot number, number of the TPC, and a statement that the products are TSCA certified. A combined CARB and EPA label is allowed. Finished goods must also include labels that include the fabricator’s name, the date the finished good was produced, and a statement that the finished goods are TSCA compliant

 

#7 – What is the Recordkeeping Requirement? Most records such as bills of lading, invoices, and documents that indicate the products are TSCA compliant must be retained for three years. Additionally, importers must be able to provide records to EPA upon request that identify the panel producer, the date of production, the supplier if different from the panel producer, and the date the products were purchased.

 

#8 – What about TPCs? – Any TIPC, CARB approved or not, must apply and be recognized by EPA before certifying any composite wood products.

 

#9 – What about Non-Complying Lots? Non-complying lots cannot be sold and all downstream purchasers must be informed within 72 hours.

 

#10 – What about Existing Stocks? All products made or fabricated with panels before the effective date can be sold provided there has been no stockpiling.

 

In our continuing efforts to support Members affected by this rule, IWPA has partnered with the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association to organize a Joint Industry Workshop on the EPA Formaldehyde Rule which will take place January 18-19, 2017, at the Conference Center at Guilford Technical Community College in Colfax, North Carolina. We encourage everyone to register online at www.AHFA.us. As always, if you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact us!

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