Environmental Protection

Two Rules Proposed for Improved Formaldehyde Exposure Protection

The EPA proposed two rules last week, which will help to better protect Americans from formaldehyde exposure. The harmful chemical can cause adverse health effects such as respiratory symptom and cancer.

These two proposed rules ensure that composite wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States meet the formaldehyde emission standards established by Congress in 2010, the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, or Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

“The proposed regulations reflect EPA’s continued efforts to protect the public from exposure to harmful chemicals in their daily lives,” said James J. Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once final, the rules will reduce the public’s exposure to this harmful chemical found in many products in our homes and workplaces."

In the first proposed rule, the EPA would limit the amount of formaldehyde that would be emitted from certain particle boards, plywood, fiberboards, and other finished goods that are currently manufactured, imported, and sold in the U.S. The rule would also include a common-sense exemption from some testing and record-keeping requirements for products made with no-added formaldehyde resins.

The second proposal calls for the establishment of a third-party certification framework that would ensure all of the above mentioned woods would meet all emission standards. Third-party certification would help level the playing field by ensuring composite wood products sold in this country meet emission standards whether or not the products were made in the U.S.  

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