California Air Resources Board (CARB) implements Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products

On January 1, 2009, hardwood plywood, particleboard, and MDF panels manufactured for sale or use in California needed to comply with the formaldehyde emission limits in the new CARB regulation. The regulation calls for two phases. CARB recognized the need to build time into the regulation to permit non-compliant products in inventory to work through the supply chain so the agency incorporated sell-through provisions into the rule. These provisions allow for products to work their way through the manufacturing-to-retail commerce chain.

CARB anticipates that manufacturers will meet the Phase 1 standards by using resin technologies that are similar to those in use today. To meet the Phase 2 standards, manufacturers will likely need to use modified current day urea formaldehyde resin systems, no-added formaldehyde (NAF) or ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resin systems.

For architects or designers specifying finished goods, the sell-through period utilizing non-compliant materials ends June 30, 2010 at which time it is thought that all non-compliant materials will have worked their way through the retail chain. Composite panels manufactured after January 1, 2009, must be CARB-compliant.

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