New Law Sets Formaldehyde Emissions Standards

President Obama signed a law establishing the first national standards for formaldehyde in composite wood products. The bill, known as the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Act, establishes emission standards for hardwood plywood, medium density fiberboard and particleboard sold in the United States. The glue that holds together household composite wood products such as furniture, cabinets and flooring contains formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde can be found in many household products made from composite wood, including flooring, cabinets and furniture. Photo By neon.mamacita/Courtesy Flickr 

Formaldehyde outgassing from these products can cause adverse health effects including burning eyes and throat, nausea, difficulty breathing and even cancer. The new law aims to protect consumers from these health problems by limiting the amount of formaldehyde in domestic and foreign-made composite wood products. Under the new law, by January 1, 2013, all products sold in the United States will have to have formaldehyde emissions of 0.09 parts per million or less—the most stringent standard for formaldehyde emissions in the world. The law also requires that products be third-party tested and certified.

Until then new law takes effect, be a conscious consumer when it comes to particleboard purchases. Use the PureBond Fabricator network to find formaldehyde-free products, and buy sustainable furnishings and flooring.