Name, Rank and Date: TSCA Labels for Flooring

Last year we talked CARB labels for flooring. It is finally time to talk TSCA labels.

They can be almost the same as CARB, so if you want to keep it simple, in most cases you can simply replace the CARB text with the TSCA text on your packages.

That said, it is not an absolute one for one condition. There are a few differences between CARB and TSCA. You have a responsibility to understand them (and we’ll talk more about them in future blogs.) One of the big ones is the de minimis labeling exemption. The EPA says that if you have a tiny amount (144 square inches or less) of composite wood products, you don’t have to label for it. CARB says you do. So as an example, if you use a bit of plywood as a tip on a lumber core floor, CARB wants you to label that, but the EPA does not require it.

Otherwise, CARB has stated that if your product is TSCA compliant, they will accept this statement and not require their own statement as well. But there is nothing wrong with putting both on if you want.

Both regulations require a company name (I call it “the responsible party,” the company they are going to call with questions—that might be the manufacturer or the importer), a production date, and a statement of compliance.

A simple TSCA label would look like this:

If you were doubling down and listing both, your label might say:

So both of those are ok, simple and straightforward, right? Note again, neither organization wants a TPC number because remember, the flooring is not the certified product!

Also note that traditionally, the “six” in the TSCA Title is written as a Roman numeral six, “VI.” That said, if you happen to go with Title 6, you should be fine. You can do “Phase 2” or “P2” as well. California can be CA or you can just say CARB. You can say “EPA TSCA” or just “TSCA.” There’s some flexibility here. You don’t want to make it confusing so don’t get crazy with something like CA-P2 or EPA-T6, but small variations don’t make it wrong.

Oh, and one other thing to note—both CARB and the EPA will accept a simple month/year (03/2018 for example) indication for production, although they certainly don’t object to the day being added. Since it is common in the flooring industry for us to put full production dates on the boxes because we’re tracking lots for quality control, that’s what I put on my sample labels.

So those are the basics. But we should also talk about a new trend in labeling that I’ve noticed. Some companies are moving from a compliancy statement about the flooring to a specific reference regarding the core. They are putting up labels like:

Variations on the compliance statement might be:

The MDF core of this laminate flooring is compliant
with EPA TSCA Title VI and CARB Phase 2

Or

This Engineered Flooring’s plywood core is designated as
ULEF (Ultra Low Emitting Formaldehyde) under
EPA TSCA Title VI and CARB ATCM 93120

Or maybe you want it simple:

Flooring TSCA Title VI and CARB P2
compliant for formaldehyde emissions

These are all ok because the compliancy is clear and the regulators know who to call for more info.

Oh, and having a reference to “for formaldehyde emissions” is a nice bonus—it helps the consumer know exactly what those statements mean. You can keep it simple with just the reference to regulation, but clarity is always nice.

And what about that de minimis condition? That plywood should be compliant either way. The question is if you label it and if so, how should you do it? Well, CARB says you have to label, and TSCA says you don’t—BUT, just because you don’t HAVE to label for it, doesn’t mean you can’t.

You want to be clear to the consumer what is regulated, so this type of floor might be labelled as:

Engineered Flooring with plywood parts compliant
with EPA TSCA Title VI and CARB ATCM 93120

So as you can see, there isn’t an absolute-one-way-only to write a label. But you want to make sure you have the right information on it. What claim are you making – TSCA, CARB, ULEF, NAF? Who can they contact if there is a question—no more white boxes folks! And when was this made?

Finally, again as a review, right now both TSCA and CARB only directly regulate the primary panels—plywood, MDF and particleboard. Those products need more info on their labels—the manufacturer’s name, a lot number, a statement that the product companies and finally, the official number of the TPC (Third Party Certifier) providing oversight. And a production date is good too.

But for flooring it is name, statement and date! And exactly how you are comfortable with writing, as long as it is clear to both the consumer and the regulators, well, that is up to you.

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Reminder: See the all star panel of experts at the NWFA Convention Formaldehyde Panel, Friday, April 13, 2018 at 9:30 AM

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