EPA seeks input on new formaldehyde regs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is forming an “advocacy review panel” of small business owners to focus on formaldehyde in the wood products industry. The advisory panel will help the agency prepare for the implementation of the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, enacted in July 2010. The new standards will establish formaldehyde limits for composite wood products (hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard) so these products meet emission standards.

Formaldehyde is a known eye, nose and throat irritant, and in 1991, the EPA classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. Formaldehyde-based resins are sometimes used as adhesives in composite wood products.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the EPA to establish a federal panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small organizations. The panel will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, and the EPA. The panel will also ask a selected group of small entity representatives (SERs) to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community or organization to inform the panel on impacts of the proposed rule.

The EPA seeks self-nominations directly from the small organizations that may be subject to the rule requirements to facilitate the selection of SERs. Self-nominations may be submitted through epa.gov/sbrefa/formaldehyde.htm and must be received by Nov. 2, 2010.