EPA Announces Labeling Relief and Extension of Compliance Dates for the Final Formaldehyde Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a direct final rule that would remove the prohibition on early labeling of compliant composite wood products and finished goods in the final Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products rule, published in the Federal Register December 12, 2016. Removal of this provision under 40 CFR 770.45(f) would allow entities to begin labeling compliant composite wood products and finished goods as TSCA Title VI compliant as soon as compliance can be achieved.

This will reduce the unnecessary burden for panel producers, fabricators, distributors and retailers who want to roll out compliant inventory prior to the rule’s compliance date.

In the event that EPA receives an adverse comment on the direct final rule and must publish a proposal, the EPA is also publishing a companion Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the labeling amendment. If the EPA receives no adverse comment on the direct final rule or proposed rule, then the agency will take no further action on the proposed rule and the direct final rule will become effective. If the EPA receives relevant, adverse comment on either rule, then the agency will withdraw the direct final rule and proceed with the proposed rule through the normal rulemaking process.

EPA is also working to extend compliance dates for the final Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products rule. On May 24, 2017, EPA published both a direct final rule and a proposed rule to extend the compliance dates for the formaldehyde emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions until March 22, 2018, import certification provisions until March 22, 2019, and laminated product producer provisions until March 22, 2024. Additionally, they would extend the California Air Resources Board Third-Party Certifier transitional period until March 22, 2019.

The Agency had to withdraw the direct final rule because it received adverse comments during the 15-day public comment period. The withdrawal notice for this direct final action and comments received on the direct final and proposed rules are available for review in the action’s public docket.

The December 12, 2016 final rule compliance dates will remain in effect until another final agency action is taken. In addition, EPA plans to publish a subsequent direct final rule to update several voluntary consensus standards referenced in the final rule.

Visit the EPA’s formaldehyde website for additional information on the TSCA Title VI final rule.

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