How to Order FER Production Going Forward

As of June 1st, just a few short weeks away, everything entering the country or anything newly produced in this country must be manufactured as compliant with the CARB ATCM 93120 Phase 2 and/or EPA TSCA Title VI. As a reminder, anything that is already in the country can be sold indefinitely (keep records of those production dates!) and if you have components or material that you are going to further process, you can use that stock up. But moving forward, it’s all got to comply with one or both of these standards.

Anyone ordering a regulated product needs to specify on their order that they want compliant material. Anyone selling material needs to state that it’s compliant on their invoice and/or shipping documents.

But how to do that with so many variations of conditions? Something might be CARB only or TSCA only or both. Something might be ok because it is made before the enforcement date. We need a simple phrase that summarizes it all. You can come up with your own variation, but I’m going with this short phrase:

Engineered flooring produced using composite wood products compliant with CARB ATCM 93120 and/or EPA TSCA Title VI as required based on the manufactured-by date.

That covers the variables. You are ok if you are plywood or MDF cores. You’ve got both regulations referenced as an and/or option. You reference the manufactured-by date as a variable that allows production prior to June 1st be non-CARB/TSCA if that’s the case. Stating compliance generally allows for all the forms—general (which would be P2 in CARB), NAF or ULEF. That’s what I’ll order, that’s what I’ll sell. It covers all the bases.

And to be clear, “manufactured-by date” is either the date that the flooring (or whatever) is made in the United States or for any imported product, the date it ENTERS the United States. For overseas material, that’s not the production date. That’s not the shipment date. That’s the date that Customs says it enters the United States. If you have non-compliant material overseas, it is not entering the US after June 1st. That includes material in Canada or Mexico or anywhere—in a couple of weeks, this country is going to be completely FERed. That’s “Formaldehyde Emissions Regulated – ed.!”

Elizabeth Baldwin is Environmental Compliance Officer for Metropolitan Hardwood Floors. In her 25 plus year career in the wood industry has visited over 70 countries and hundreds of facilities of all sizes and types. She describes herself as a “jack of all wood trades.” Familiar with jungles of all sorts–having camped out along the Amazon and walked the halls of Congress–she blogs for the NWFA on both environmental and regulatory issues for educational and informational purposes only. Her blog is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice on compliance with CARB, TSCA, the U.S. Lacey Act or any other law, regulation, or compliance requirement/claim should consult with the regulatory agency directly and/or a qualified legal professional.

4 thoughts

  1. Elizabeth…you’ve done great work getting the word out. Thanks to you and Cindy Squires and the others that accompanied you in Tampa, for making it crystal clear. This is a landmark decision that is long overdue, that will clean up a lot of the messes that went undetected and hurt so many.

  2. “Anyone ordering a regulated product needs to specify on their order that they want compliant material. Anyone selling material needs to state that it’s compliant on their invoice and/or shipping documents.”

    I am in distribution and we order products like this all the time. Does that mean that when we order we have to state we want CARB 2 Compliant material on each and every order? I have seen some of the invoices that we get from some vendors that is already on there. Is that covering us when we order material

  3. Hi folks.

    David, thanks for the kind words and it was good to see you at the panel–I only wish more folks had attended. I spoke to an MDF importer/distributor this week that said “What’s TSCA?”


    Glenn, yes, just put a basic statement on your pro forma invoice or your PO, make it a default statement for any regulated product you might buy. Have a policy, particularly early on, of checking what is supplied to you for labels and paperwork until everyone gets into the routine of language and labeling. I would recommend the language in this blog which covers both CARB and TSCA and covers you based on timing too which is otherwise a big variable to address. Go back through past blogs for further info/ideas and monitor the EPA website for updates to their FAQs.

    Remember too, not all flooring is regulated–lumbercore is out, as would be solid or LV or other such products. So you don’t want that language on those PO’s. You also might want to double check underlay–MDF or plywood or PB. Or what about those display racks? Moulding?
    This is a wide ranging regulation and go through all your inventory and make sure you have looked at everything that contains plywood, MDF or particleboard and talk to your suppliers!

    luck all!

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