At the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) meeting held in Kuala Lumpur on July 25, 2019, UL shared our insights on supply chain visibility, regulatory risks and mitigation strategies with suppliers of wood products. Among several topics presented by Mike O’Hara, General Manager of UL’s Furniture Division, European and U.S. legislation on formaldehyde particularly caught the attention of a large audience. Here we recap some of the highlights related to formaldehyde regulations and their significance to manufacturers who want to sell their products in the U.S. market.
Long known to pose health risks to humans, formaldehyde is the focus of a growing number of regulations that attempt to reduce exposure by limiting emissions of formaldehyde in products commonly used in indoor environments. Wood products including particleboard, medium density fiberboard, plywood, flooring, and paneling often emit significant levels of formaldehyde and manufacturers, distributors, importers, and retailers are responsible for demonstrating that their products comply with the latest regulations and guidelines.
Formaldehyde is classified as a Group 1 known carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This information prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish regulations regarding formaldehyde emissions from wood products to attempt to reduce exposure. As of June 1, 2018, wood products sold in the United States must be certified by a third party to meet the emissions limits of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title VI TPC testing using ASTM method E1333 or ASTM D6007. Not only is emissions testing required to ensure that emissions limits are met, but the act also requires labelling and disclosure notifications that impact distributors, importers and retailers of composite wood products as well.
It’s important that international manufacturers of wooden and wood composite products understand the requirements of TSCA and that they ensure compliance prior to introducing their products to the U.S. market. Failure to comply can result in fees, fines, litigation, damage to your brand or – worst of all – potential harm to building occupants.
Whether you are manufacturing composite wood panels or fabricating finished goods intended for the U.S. market, UL can help you reduce the risks of non-compliance or failure to deliver safe products to market. Formaldehyde emissions are just one aspect to consider, with mechanical, fire and other safety matters also critically important to successfully introducing products to the U.S. market. Trusted for more than 125 years, UL has the experience and capabilities to help you ensure the safety of your products. Get started today.
For more insight, check out our white paper, Formaldehyde In Composite Wood Products: Meeting the New U.S. EPA Regulations.