EPA FORMALDEHYDE RULE
On Jan. 20, the Trump Administration issued an order freezing
all recently published EPA regulations for a 60-day review
period. The order opened the door to blocking rules that the
EPA issued in the ;nal weeks of the Obama administration,
including the ;nal rule under the Formaldehyde Standards for
Composite Wood Products Act.
Most likely, the review period will simply delay the initial
effective date for the EPA formaldehyde rule, pushing it from
Feb. 10 to March 21. This should only impact the deadline for
accrediting bodies and third-party certi;ers to register with the
EPA. The Dec. 12 implementation date for all panel producers
and fabricators to comply with the regulation’s emissions and
other requirements looks to remain unchanged.
Largely consistent with CARB, EPA’s regulation covers the
use of particleboard, MDF and hardwood plywood. Products
made with decorative overlays and veneers are considered under
the rule to be ;nished goods and must use compliant composite
wood substrates. The federal regulation applies the same CARB
emission limits for hardwood plywood (0.05 ppm), MDF (0.11
ppm), thin MDF (0.13 ppm) and particleboard (0.09 ppm).
The regulation also puts in place a rigorous third-party certi;cation system. Current CARB certifying bodies will automatically
be recognized as certi;ers for the national program for two years.
In related news, KCMA along with the Composite Panel
Association, American Home Furnishings Alliance and the In-
ternational Wood Products Association, have sent a letter to EPA
addressing concerns over a formaldehyde rule provision which
currently prohibits truthful, voluntary labeling of composite
wood products as compliant with the regulation before the com-
pliance date of Dec. 12, 2017. This prohibition poses signi;cant
potential challenges for the supply chain, where manufacturers
will be called upon to manage inventory and implement labeling
changes that take effect within a day.
KCMA also plans to send EPA a letter to discuss a provision to
the rule on non-complying lots. It applies to a fabricator who receives noti;cation from a panel producer that the panels received
were part of a lot that failed an emissions test. The provision argu-ably requires the fabricator to notify customers to which it may
have shipped ;nished products containing component parts from
those panels. The fabricator’s noti;cation must inform customers that the ;nished products must be isolated; cannot be further
distributed; and must either be recalled or treated and retested.
A BRIEF LOOK AT NEWS AND LEGISLATION AFFECTING THE U.S. CABINET MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY.
CAL/OSHA SAYS NO TO
LOWER PELS FOR WOOD DUST
The California Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) Stan-
dards Board ruled against a proposal to
lower the existing permissible exposure
level for wood dust from 5 milligrams per
cubic meter to 1 milligram. The American
Wood Council (AWC), of which KCMA is
a member, successfully argued that Cal/
OSHA did not have sufficient evidence
to claim the 1 mg/cubic meter level was
possible to achieve. Cal/OSHA will now
restart the rulemaking.
“Cal/OSHA staff had not generated
sufficient information to claim the 1
mg/cubic meter level was feasible to
achieve,” said AWC chief scientist Stew-
art Holm. “A PEL of anything less than 2
would force many companies to invest
in expensive controls and force some to
either move out of California or to close.”
AWC has been engaged in the
process for the last several years and
worked with several allied trade asso-
ciations, to oppose the proposal.
Current regulations for limiting exposure to wood dust (except western red
cedar) have an existing time weight average of 5 mg/cubic meter; the 15-minute
short-term exposure limit is 10 mg/cubic
meter. For western red cedar, the existing PEL is 2. 5 mg/cubic meter.
While there is no Federal OSHA
regulation that specifically applies to
wood dust, the agency does have a
permissible exposure limit for “dust not
otherwise classified” that would cover
wood dust: 15 mg/cubic meter.