AHFA Continues Pushing for Clarifications
to EPA Formaldehyde Emission Rule
April 10, 2017 – HIGH POINT, N.C. – AHFA continues pushing for five specific modifications to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Formaldehyde Emission Standard for Composite Wood Products, published in December as Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The modifications are needed to “mitigate the potential disruption of the supply chain,” AHFA told new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last month. Adjustments needed include:
1) Extend the rule’s compliance schedule. President Trump’s Executive Order in January temporarily postponed effective dates for all recently published rules for 60 days. This moved the effective date of the federal formaldehyde rule to March, but did not modify the full compliance timeline. AHFA proposes for EPA to tie the rule’s compliance timeline to the new effective date and grant a 12- month extension to ensure an adequate supply of certified composite wood products throughout the supply chain.
2) Exempt laminated products. EPA ignored data confirming that laminated products have a dramatically reduced emissions profile from unfinished panels. In its final rule, EPA gave no credit nor recognition to the value-added process of finishing furniture, even though the EPA Administrator had the statutory discretion to exempt laminated products based on the available data.AHFA continues asking the agency to exempt laminated products.
3) Allow early labeling of compliant products. As discussed during AHFA’s January formaldehyde workshop, TSCA Title VI compliant labels are prohibited from use on December 11, 2017, and required on December 12, 2017. The ill-conceived prohibition on early labeling of compliant products will cause confusion and unnecessary burdens for panel producers, fabricators, distributors and retailers who seek to roll out compliant inventory prior to the rule’s effective date. There is no statutory requirement for this prohibition on early labeling, AHFA maintains. Your voice. Your advocate.
4) Drop the requirement for import certification. The formaldehyde regulation marks the first time EPA has applied TSCA import certification requirements to articles. Until now, articles containing regulated chemicals have generally been exempt from TSCA.EPA’s new stance results in costly double regulation for composite wood product imports, which already are subject to the formaldehyde rule and its labeling, testing, third-party certification, chain-of-custody, record-keeping and reporting requirements.
5) Clarify handling of non-complying lots. When a panel producer has a lot that fails a formaldehyde emissions test, it must notify all fabricators who received panels from that lot. The fabricators, in turn, are required to notify their customers that end products they shipped may have contained parts of panels that failed an emissions test. Further, the end customer is supposed to isolate those products and/or recall them. This requirement fails to take into account the fact that, by the time the fabricator receives such a notice, the panels in question probably no longer exist as panels. They will have been cut up into component parts and assembled into finished goods. In addition, they likely will have been covered with veneer or other coatings, meaning it will no longer be feasible to test them accurately for compliance with the formaldehyde emission limits. AHFA seeks clarification of this process for handling non-complying lots. The original rule proposed by EPA did not contain this notification requirement.
AHFA will keep members informed as it seeks to clarify these important issues