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EPA Formaldehyde Rule Stuck in Regulatory Freeze

EPA Formaldehyde Rule Stuck in Regulatory Freeze

Author: Jack Schatz/Thursday, February 23, 2017/Categories: U.S NEWS, Prop65, Federal Agencies, US EPA, TSCA Reform, Product Safety

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Implementation of the U.S. EPA’s long-awaited rule pertaining to formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products has been delayed by the Trump administration’s “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review."


The freeze is intended to review pending regulations before they can be adopted and implemented.  The new administration is particularly concerned about recent regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Trump administration set forth these guidelines for the regulatory review:


1.   for those regulations that raise no substantial questions of law or policy, no further action needs to be taken; and

2.   for those regulations that raise substantial questions of law or policy, agencies should notify the OMB Director and take further appropriate action in consultation with the OMB Director.

The composite wood rule was published by the agency on December 12, 2016, and was slated to take effect on February 10, 2017.


Compliance with the rule is based on the manufacturing date of composite wood products that fall within the purview of the regulation.


The Trump administration’s regulatory freeze advises federal agencies to consider proposing

for notice and comment rules to delay the effective date for regulations beyond the current delay. 

In cases where the effective date has been delayed in order to review questions of fact, law, or policy, it suggests that federal agencies should consider proposing further notice-and-comment rulemaking. Following the delay in effective date.

EPA’s final rule to implement the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act adds Title VI to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The purpose of TSCA Title VI is to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, which will reduce exposures to formaldehyde and avoid adverse effects the agency said.

The final rule includes formaldehyde emission standards applicable to hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard, and finished goods containing these products, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, or manufactured (including imported) in the United States.

The final regulation includes provisions that apply and relate to laminated products, products made with no-added formaldehyde resins or ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde resins, testing requirements, product labeling, chain of custody documentation and other recordkeeping requirements. 

The regulation also contains enforcement provisions, import certification, and product inventory sell-through provisions, including a product stockpiling prohibition.

It is unclear how long the regulatory freeze will continue, or how the delay may affect furniture and building materials manufacturers in the foreseeable future.



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Jack Schatz

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