Title VI: CARB Compliance and What It Means for the Wood Products Industry

While all composite wood products sold in California must comply with the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) strict air quality requirements, some organizations in other states elect to follow these guidelines in all of their sales to benefit their customer’s best interest.

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However, not all companies follow this path because compliance requires that they adhere to rigorous quality control processes to achieve verifiable results. However, with the EPA's TSCA Title VI May 22, 2017 compliance date rapidly approaching, falling in line with CARB's air quality requirements is a must for legitimate companies. It is an approach that Timber Products Company has found takes an unwavering dedication to quality and more than a little innovation.

To maintain CARB compliance, manufacturers must ensure their veneered plywood or MDF meets standards for formaldehyde emissions as measured by ASTM test E 1333-96. CARB-approved independent third-parties must perform the emission testing. Customers that want to ensure their products meet these strict environmental requirements can look for the CARB label on the end-product.

An underappreciated benefit of CARB’s stringent requirements is that it has spurred innovation among companies. For example, shortly after CARB requirements went into effect for composite wood products, manufacturers began to develop new adhesive solutions that provided lower, or no, formaldehyde emissions while still meeting the high-quality standards needed by end users.

Among other options, Timber Products Company uses an ultra-low emitting formaldehyde adhesive that gives off less than .05 parts per million of formaldehyde. By comparison, that is four times less than the allowable amount of formaldehyde in hardwood plywood under the Department of Housing & Urban Development's requirement of .20 parts per million. Even with that low of an emission, our CARB compliant products continue to maintain a strong bond.

CARB compliance has been upheld as an ideal for years, but it is one that the rest of the country will soon be required to meet. In December 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule to set emission standards for formaldehyde under Title VI of the TSCA. By the end of 2017, wood product manufacturers and others throughout the fabrication chain will be brought into alignment with CARB’s goals.

Along with the Title VI changes, CARB continues to look for better ways to limit its impact on the environment. In January 2017, the CARB board released a proposed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Their goal is to hit 40 percent below the average levels established in 1990. The plan, still under review, analyzes the potential economic impacts of a variety of scenarios as well as calculates the overall benefit to society.

While any updated plan between Title VI and CARB will mean fresh technical challenges for manufacturers, it is something that companies committed to the environment will gladly strive to meet. To learn how Timber Products Company is meeting this challenge, head over to our website and read about our CARB-certified products.

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