EPA proposes new standards for composite wood products

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed two new regulations last month that would help further protect Americans from formaldehyde emissions in composite wood products. The proposals are currently up for public discussion in the Federal Register, where woodworking professionals and other interested parties can submit formal comments through Aug. 9.

The legislation would apply to all composite wood products that are sold, manufactured, supplied, offered for sale or imported into the United States.

The first rule would place a limit on formaldehyde emissions for hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods. The second rule would call for a third-party certification system that would verify manufacturers' compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act formaldehyde emission standards.

According to the EPA, health effects resulting from formaldehyde exposure include irritation of the nose, throat and eyes, respiratory complications, worsening of asthma symptoms, fatigue, headache, nausea and possibly cancer.

Those wishing to submit commentary to the EPA can do so here and here.

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