Formaldehyde Rules To Take Effect for Cabinets, Furniture and More

Formaldehyde Rules To Take Effect for Cabinets, Furniture and More

Almost 10 years have passed since 60 Minutes reported that dangerous levels of formaldehyde off-gassing from flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators was making people ill. In response, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fast-tracked its national regulations limiting formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products and the finished products they go into.

Those regulations have been going into effect in stages. And the rules for furniture, cabinetry and other laminated products are taking effect next.

On March 22, 2024, these products will have to comply with Title VI of Toxic Substances Control Act and you should check to see that the products are labeled “Title VI TSCA Compliant.”

The rules require manufacturers of laminated products to switch to low-emission glues or be subject to putting their products through the same third-party indoor-air quality certification process as wood composite panel producers are already required to do.

The legislation applied CARB II standards, which in 2015 were law only in the state of California, making nationwide regulations for composite wood products that are used in everything from flooring to furniture. Many manufacturers have complied by switching to No Added Formaldehyde (NAF) adhesives. 

 Reputable U.S. flooring manufacturers were already complying with CARB II standards at the time 60 Minutes broke the Lumber Liquidators story in 2015. But there has been little media attention since, as various parts of the legislation have taken effect by specified deadlines over the past several years.

And if Natural Interiors’ recent visit to a Greater Cincinnati big-box store is any indication, consumers will likely have to probe. We as could find no label of compliance on the store’s leading kitchen cabinet brand, and the employees had no information.

You can read the U.S. E.P.A. rules in full detail here.

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