WASHINGTON - After receiving negative feedback from the industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew its Direct Final Rule Wednesday, removing delayed compliance dates for certain formaldehyde emissions standards on wood products.
 
“Since the direct final rule and proposed rule’s publication, EPA has received several comments on the proposed amendments to the compliance dates that the agency considers to be adverse,” the agency said.
 
Published in May, the Direct Final Rule gave the composite wood industry more time to comply with certain standards, including extending the deadline to meet emissions standards, record keeping provisions and labeling rules:
  • Emissions, recordkeeping and labeling provisions – March 22, 2018
  • Import certification – March 22, 2019
  • Laminated products – March 22, 2024
The rule also proposes to extend the transitional period for CARB-certified third-party certifiers (TPCs) to March 22, 2019. 
 
The EPA will instead proceed with a final rule based on its proposed rule published on May 24 after considering all public comments.
 
The federal regulation that definitively addresses formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products sold in the United States was first published in the Federal Register on Dec. 12, 2016, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  If properly enforced, the regulation can ensure that all products – both domestic and imported composite wood panels and the finished products containing them – meet the world’s most stringent standards for formaldehyde emissions.  It also marks the culmination of over 30 years of product stewardship by the composite wood industry, which through voluntary efforts and consistent and progressive work with regulators, has successfully developed products that consistently meet or exceed these tough standards. - Jackson Morill, president of the Composite Panel Association.