10/24/2013

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EPA proposes formaldehyde regulations for wood products tougher than CARB

The draft proposal would create new standards for formaldehyde emissions released during the manufacture of certain wood products, such as plywood and particleboard, including OSB. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which requires the agency to draft regulations to address the health threat. The ACC argues that major strides have already been made to bring formaldehyde emissions in line with the California standards, including the development of ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins. Plants, animals, and humans naturally produce small amounts of formaldehyde, though exposure to large amounts could lead to cancer, according to the EPA. The resins used when making composite wood products often contain formaldehyde. The ACC supports a national standard, but favours an approach in line with regulations adopted in California. The EPA's rule is more restrictive than the standard applied by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). "EPA's proposed rule […] is not based on the best available science, greatly overstates any tangible health benefits, and will send confusing messages in the marketplace,” stated Jackson Morrill, Director of ACC's Formaldehyde Panel. "EPA discounts the scientific evidence of a threshold for health effects, disagrees with findings from international authoritative bodies and presents valuations that are not based on biological evidence.” The groups formal comment period for the draft rule closed this week. The EPA will consider all submissions before finalising the regulations.

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