The Composite Panel Assn., along with other industry associations, has joined forces with the Sierra Club and some environmental groups, to draft legislation calling for a national standard on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. According to Tom Julia, CPA president, the proposal calls for:

• Formaldehyde emission levels equal to those set by the California Air Resources Board for composite wood panels.

• The same scope of products as covered under the CARB ruling.

• An enactment date of 2011 or later.

Under the draft proposal, the Environmental Protection Agency would use the CARB rule as a model in implementing details, including: labeling, finished goods requirements and enforcement. Also with the enactment of a national rule based on CARB, it would negate attempts to “make a determination of unreasonable risk” for formaldehyde under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

“The focus would be on technology, not on health,” Julia said in a presentation before members of the CPA.

Support for the petition to develop a national standard is growing, with many manufacturers saying they already are making products to CARB standards. “This shows we are a responsible industry,” Julia said. “That we are looking for responsible solutions.”

According to Julia, the coalition is working to secure bipartisan support in the hopes that draft legislation will be considered by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

You can do your part by contacting your congressmen or joining your association in its efforts. For more information on the issue, visit

Note: Jim Aguila, manager at CARB, will give a presentation Friday morning at AWFS Fair on the CARB ruling and its impact on the woodworking industry. He also will be available on Saturday at the “Green Desk.”

Background: National Formaldehyde Rule

April 2007: CARB approves an Airborne Toxic Control Measure for composite wood products.

March 2008: CARB approves final ATCM.

Spring 2008: Environmental groups call for EPA to develop a national standard, based on the CARB rule.

Late 2008: EPA publishes an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, along with a Survey of Manufacturers, and schedules public input sessions. Also at this time, industry groups, including the Composite Panel Assn. and Hardwood Plywood Veneer Assn., begin working with the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in recommending “a legislative intervention as the best approach to limit and expedite regulation.”

2009: A coalition of supporters is formed, and labor and health groups are approached for their support.

Source: Composite Panel Assn.

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