Importers who bring in products containing composite wood need to be aware of new EPA rules that may impact their imports. The new rules are called TSCA Title VI and take effect on March 22, 2019. These rules govern formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products.
What is TSCA Title VI and who is impacted?
TSCA Title VI requires that composite wood products be tested and certified prior to entry into the United States. The composite wood products regulated by the final rule are:
- Hardwood plywood
- Medium-density fiberboard (MDF, including thin-MDF)
Importers who have products made out of these composite wood materials are subject to the TSCA Title VI requirement no matter how small the quantity. There are MANY types of products that may contain composite wood materials and therefore be required to comply. Some common products that contain composite wood materials are as follows:
- Furniture and cabinets
- Building materials (doors, flooring, etc.)
- Certain toys and craft products
- Musical instruments
There are certain composite wood materials that are exempt (see 40 CFR 770.1c).
What do importers need to do?
There are four actions importers must take:
- Ensure that the products are TSCA Title VI compliant. To do so, importers will need to work with their fabricators (manufacturers using composite wood panels to create a component part or finished product) or mills (if importers are purchasing composite wood panels) to ensure compliance. Mills that produce composite wood panels will need to have their panels certified by an EPA accredited Third Party Certifier (TPC). Fabricators will need to make sure that the composite wood panels used are certified by the mills as being TSCA Title VI compliant. Importers should maintain records for three years demonstrating the precautions taken to ensure compliance. These records should include the following:
- Bill of lading, commercial invoice, or comparable document including a written statement from the supplier that the composite wood products, component parts, or finished goods are TSCA Title VI compliant.
- Records identifying the panel producer and the date the composite wood products were produced if you are importing panels directly from the mill.
- Records identifying the supplier, if different from the panel producer, and the date the composite wood products or components or finished goods were purchased.
- Labels – Importers need to ensure that products are properly labeled. The label requirement varies slightly depending on if the product is a simple composite wood panel or is a finished good / component part that uses composite wood paneling.
- Panels – If the imported product is simply the composite wood panel, the product must be labeled with the panel producer’s name, the production lot number, the number of the EPA TSCA Title VI Third Party Certifier (TPC), and a statement that the products are TSCA Title VI certified.
- Finished good / component part containing composite wood paneling – Each finished good or component part must be labeled to include the fabricator(manufacturer)’s name, the date the finished good was produced (in month/year format), and a statement that the finished goods are TSCA Title VI compliant.
Note that if imported products are divided or repackaged after import, the importer must have a system to identify the supplier and link the information on the labels back to the product.
- Importer Certification – For each shipment into the United States, the importer should provide a TSCA Certification stating the following:
- Request that the overseas shipper include on the bill of lading / airway bill and or commercial invoice a statement that the composite wood products, component parts, or finished goods are TSCA Title VI compliant.
When do the regulations go into effect?
Beginning March 22, 2019, regulated products must be labeled with the TSCA Title VI compliance labels.
What should you tell foreign manufacturers?
Mills – If you are sourcing your product directly from the mill (producer of the composite wood panels), please have them visit the following EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/
You will need to work with the mills to make sure the panels are compliant AND are labelled properly.
Fabricator – If your manufacturer uses composite wood panels to make their product, please have them visit the following EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/
You will need to work with your fabricator / manufacturer to make sure the imported product is compliant AND is labelled properly.
Important Links for Additional Information
- CFR publication describing the TSCA Title VI Formaldehyde Standards for Composite wood Products: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/
retrieveECFR?gp=&SID= d679100be7cffabbef056d61862c3f a9&mc=true&n=pt40.34.770&r= PART&ty=HTML#se40.34.770_140
- Small Entity Compliance for importers, distributors, and retailers: https://www.epa.gov/sites/
production/files/2018-04/ documents/small_entity_ compliance_for_formaldehyde_ standards-importers_ distributors_retailers_4.20. 2018.pdf