TSCA Timing

So there are a ton of dates out there regarding TSCA, some in play now, some proposed for the future, some applying to one part of the supply chain and some to another. One reason I haven’t written much on TSCA yet is because the dates were still in flux, and it is good that I waited. We’ve had yet another change and I THINK we’re close to things being finalized!

A few weeks ago, on August 24, some primary panel (plywood/MDF/particleboard) production started getting produced as TSCA. That raw material is now trickling into the market. This is several months ahead of the original mandated “must label by” date and really could not have been started early enough. (Remember though, as noted last week, before you accept material offered to you as TSCA, make sure that the mill’s TPC is listed on the EPA website and ask if they’ve been checked against all the TSCA specifics.)

Flooring and other downstream producers using this material (and following their parts of the TSCA rule) are allowed to label their material as compliant. However don’t expect to see a flood of TSCA compliant flooring for many months. It takes time, folks. And until we get the correlation fix in, as discussed last week, I would be very cautious in labeling as compliant.

And if you have customers demanding RIGHT NOW to have a TSCA product, make sure they understand that CARB and TSCA certified panels must meet the same emissions level. Asking for TSCA does not mean you are getting a lower emitting panel.

Now here’s the great news—key TSCA dates have been extended. This extension was desperately needed by the flooring industry to allow certified raw material to enter the manufacturing supply chain. Think about it—a flooring maker (or a cabinet or furniture market) can’t make compliant material until they are able to buy certified panel. They can’t buy certified panel until the mills get cleared. The mills can’t get cleared until the TPCs get cleared and only a few can get cleared until the correlation issue is resolved because of the limitations on large chamber capacity. So everyone should be delighted that we have time to get things right.

So here is where we are at right now, taken from EPA’s Formaldehyde website:

Compliance Date Amendment

EPA will issue a final rule to extend the compliance dates under the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products rule, including extending:

  • The date for the emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions from December 12, 2017 to December 12, 2018
  • The conclusion of the transition period for CARB Third-Party Certifiers (TPCs) from December 12, 2018 to March 22, 2019.
  • The date for import certification provisions from December 12, 2018 to March 22, 2019.
  • The date for laminated product producer provisions from December 12, 2023 to March 22, 2024.

So we now have a final compliance date of December 12, 2018 for the emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions. To make it clear:  beginning on this date, 100% of domestically produced or imported panels and component parts or finished goods subject to the rule must comply with 40 CFR part 770.

Note that TSCA does not establish a sell through period for older material. As of 12/12/18 you cannot produce in the US or import anything regulated by TSCA’s rule into the US unless it is compliant. However if the material is in the U.S. prior to that date, in whatever form (raw panel, component or finished good), you can use that stock until it’s gone.   Quote:

…existing stock of non-certified panels manufactured in the United States or imported into the United States before the manufactured-by date may continue to be distributed in commerce and integrated further into component parts and finished goods until that stock is depleted, providing documentation is kept regarding the date of manufacture or import. Further, existing stock of component parts and finished goods that contain non-certified panels manufactured internationally and subsequently imported into the United States before the manufactured-by date may continue to be distributed into commerce and integrated into finished goods until that stock is depleted, providing documentation is kept regarding the date of manufacture or import.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on things, but for now, we can all take a deep breath and move forward at a steady pace to do TSCA right.

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