The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new federal formaldehyde emissions regulations took effect on June 1st, 2018. As of this date all composite wood products must be certified as compliant with these regulations.The EPA defines composite wood products here as both domestic and imported particle board, medium density fiberboard (MDF), and hardwood (decorative) plywood.

Structural engineered wood products made for construction applications are exempt from this regulation, including structural plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), wood I-joists, laminated veneer lumber, and glued-laminated timber. All of these products are manufactured with low-emitting, moisture-resistant adhesives in accordance with existing product standards and building codes, according to The Engineered Wood Association (APA).

For quick reference, structural engineered wood products marked with the APA Mark of Quality are considered exempt from the new regulations. If unmarked products from APA member mills are sold into applications that do not require a certification mark, the product invoice and an APA certificate of conformance can be used to identify the product as exempt.

The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act was signed by President Barack Obama on July 7th, 2010, based on the Air Toxic Control Measure developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The first phase of regulation rollout, now in effect, allows for compliance with either the CARB ATCM Phase II or the U.S. EPA TSCA Title VI. Starting March 22nd, 2019, only the U.S. EPA TSCA Title VI will be permitted as a path to compliance.

More information is available in the APA Technical Note: Formaldehyde and Engineered Wood Products (Form J330) at, search term “formaldehyde.”