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WASHINGTON–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule intended to reduce exposure to formaldehyde vapors from certain wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States.
The agency worked with the California Air Resources Board to help ensure the final national rule is consistent with California requirements for composite wood products.
 “The new rule will level the playing field for domestic manufacturers who have a high rate of compliance with the California standard and will ensure that imported products not subject to California’s requirements will meet the new standard and thus not contain dangerous formaldehyde vapors,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
 Brock Landry, general counsel for the Composite Panel Association, said most of CPA’s positions have been adopted in the final rule.
“We tried to encourage the feds to mirror CARB as much as possible. We don’t want different rules that people will have to meet,” Landry said. “When you look at the rule, it has remarkable   similarities with CARB.”
The Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010 established emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products and directed EPA to finalize a rule on implementing and enforcing a number of provisions covering composite wood products.
One year after the rule is published, composite wood products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States will need to be labeled as TSCA Title VI compliant. These products include: hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard, as well as household and other finished goods containing these products. 
EPA is also setting testing requirements to ensure that products comply with those standards, establishing eligibility requirements for third-party certifiers, and establishing eligibility requirements for accreditation bodies to be recognized by EPA that will accredit the third-party certifiers. The new rule includes certain exemptions for products made with ultra-low formaldehyde or no-added formaldehyde resins.
Landry stressed that the new rule is similar to CARB in products it covers, emission limits, third-party certification, test methodologies, labeling, reporting and record-keeping, except the EPA has a three-year retention requirement for most records, rather than two years in CARB.
“On the whole,” Landry said, “most of CPA’s goals have been accomplished.”
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