Composite Panel Association Applauds

Historic Formaldehyde Bill Approved by Congress

Landmark formaldehyde legislation urged by the Composite Panel Association (CPA) and others passed the US House of Representatives by voice vote on June 23, after being approved by the unanimous consent of the US Senate last week.  

The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, S. 1660, will establish the first comprehensive national standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, and directs the US Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate implementing regulations by January 1, 2013.  These regulations will be effective 180 days after promulgation.


“This is a historic moment for the North American composite panel industry, which has always been at the forefront of environmental stewardship,” said Tom Julia, CPA President. “The legislation represents a responsible, bipartisan approach to advancing consumer protection, fair trade, and domestic jobs.”

The emission limitations called for in the legislation are modeled on a regulation adopted by California in 2008. “The result will be the toughest production standard in the world, including provisions to ensure that products made with composite wood panels meet the standard,” Julia said.  “The legislation will also encourage the development of lower emitting adhesive technologies and establish a transparent chain of custody for purposes of enforcement. Manufacturer quality assurance requirements and third party testing and certification of panel products will give consumers the highest confidence in the composite wood products they purchase, regardless of where in the world they are manufactured,” he continued.

The legislation, introduced last fall by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), quickly garnered strong bipartisan support in the Senate. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) earlier this year. 

“I want to specifically thank the Composite Panel Association for their partnership on this legislation, and for their tremendous efforts to help guide this bill through Congress - from introduction to passage,” said Congresswoman Matsui.  “This is an enormous victory for American consumers and manufacturers alike.”

“This bill will establish national standards that will both protect public health and ensure an even playing field between domestic wood products and foreign imports,” said Senator Klobuchar. “I’d like to specifically thank Tom Julia and the Composite Panel Association. CPA’s leadership and efforts to help craft this legislation was critical to our getting it through the Congress and to the President.”

“I appreciate the due diligence already shown by our domestic industry in this regard, and the vision on this issue expressed by members of the Senate,” said Senator Crapo.


CPA and the Sierra Club initially drafted the legislation in late 2008, and a broad coalition of stakeholders soon joined the effort. The legislation was ultimately supported by the entire industry supply chain, along with the National Center for Health Housing, organized labor and others.  Julia especially credited Tom Neltner, formerly with Sierra Club, for engaging industry with a pragmatic, even-handed approach. He also credited officials at the US EPA and California Air Resources Board for working constructively with bill proponents.  “This has been a model of consensus based public policymaking, with all stakeholders at the table and all views respected,” Julia said. “It should also remind us that Congress can act decisively and effectively when the interests of the American people are at stake.”




Besides the CPA, industry groups supporting the final bill included the American Home Furnishings Alliance, Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, American Forest & Paper Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America.

The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for signature.

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