EPA delays formaldehyde rules for composite wood

The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying new formaldehyde emissions standards for composite wood products such as plywood, the agency announced Wednesday.

Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical that experts say can be hazardous to human health. Manufacturers often use resins that contain formaldehyde to produce composite wood products.

The EPA proposed to regulate formaldehyde in June 2013, three years after President Obama signed into the law the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, which required the agency to draft regulations addressing the health threat.

But the formaldehyde rules have been tripped up this year. In April, the EPA hinted that the rule would be delayed, and on Wednesday it announced it is extending the comment period through May 26 in order to give interested parties more time to discuss the rule with the agency.

The EPA is seeking public comment on how it should regulate formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, and in particular, laminated products. It is reopening the comment period because it received a late comment from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) it wants to consider.

Some commenters have suggested that laminated products should be exempted from the emissions standards for composite wood, while CARB said they should not be required to conduct emissions testing.