Legislation to establish national standards for composite wood product formaldehyde emissions passed in the both U.S. House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama earlier this summer. The bill, identified as the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (Formaldehyde Standards Act, or FSA), directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish by January 1, 2013 new emission regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The regulations become effective 180 days after promulgation. The legislation, which encompasses particleboard, MDF and hardwood plywood made or sold in the U.S., as well as products made from them, nationalizes standards adopted in 2008 by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The federal bill was supported by a broad coalition of industry, environmental, health and labor organizations, including the Composite Panel Association and The Sierra Club.
Neither CARB nor the new federal legislation reference structural engineered wood products (such as plywood or OSB) which are therefore effectively exempted from the provisions of both sets of regulations. These products are excluded from the bill because engineered wood products manufactured to U.S. Product Standards PS 1 and PS 2 have such low formaldehyde emission levels they are exempt from these new regulations.