SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Air Resources Board unanimously voted April 26 to approve the Composite Wood Air Toxic Control Measure standard as proposed on March 9 and amended on April 24. An amendment to move the deadline for Hardwood Plywood’s Phase 2 limits up one year was approved but a proposal to make a similar change to the deadlines for MDF and particleboard was not supported.

The rule will mandate lower formaldehyde emission levels on all composite wood products made or sold within the state of California.

The Composite Panel Assn. issued a press release criticizing the rule and saying the measure will add an "annual cost of $2.5 billion on the domestic economy while returning negligible health benefits to the citizens of California."

The California Wood Industries Coalition, of which CPA is a member, is especially concerned about Phase 2 of the rule. For example, it sets a deadline of Jan. 1, 2001 for particleboard to meet a 0.09 ppm level and for hardwood plywood with a composite core to achieve a level of 0.05 ppm by July 1, 2012.

Tom Julia, CPA president, said, “"his rule imposes the toughest production standard in the world for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products and we share the concerns expressed at the hearing by the board members about how this rule will be enforced. It is critical that these new requirements are enforced equally across all manufacturers around the world."

The second round of proposals is expected during the summer and will be posted for a 15 day comment period after they are published. The CWIC and CPA have said they are planning to actively engage CARB staff on the supplementary proposal and implementation plans for the ATCM.

Jim Aguila of CARB will present the approved ATCM rule to industry at the 2007 CPA Spring Meeting on Monday, May 7 during the Membership Luncheon. The CPA said Aguila will also discuss ATCM implications and what is next insofar as finalizing outstanding issues and firming up the enforcement plan.

To find out more about this ruling, view a CARB Implementation Chart, a CPA Press Release, and also coverage from the Los Angeles Times.

You can also read two editorials on the ruling — one from Rich Christianson, Associate Publisher of Vance Publishing's Interiors Media Network; and one from Helen Kuhl, Editorial Director of Vance Publishing's Interiors Media Network and Editor-in-Chief of Custom Woodworking Business.

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