The last two blogs have outlined some of the basic issues in the new EPA regs on Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Panels (the "new CARB," or, officially, "TSCA Title VI Compliant"). Next week's blog will look at burdens on distributors and retailers, but first I want to post an update on the comment procedures, which now have an official deadline. You will be living under these new regs for the rest of your business lives, so you will need to become familiar with the rules either now or later. If you see something now that concerns you, tell the EPA.

First, to recap quickly some of the key points in the new regs:

  • Allowed emission levels are set at CARB P2 levels.
  • Fabricators will be required to buy certified core (as they are under CARB) but will also be required to become independently certified unless they go NAF. They will still have a documentary burden, even if they are NAF.
  • Certification for all producers under the new standards needs to occur within one year of the regs being formalized (and there may not be sufficient testing capacity).
  • No information (processing procedures, resin mixes, actual test results) can be considered business proprietory or confidential. Potentially anyone can ask you for actual paperwork on a per-lot basis. This would include NAF production, as you would need to demonstrate your actual condition.
  • New record-keeping obligations for everyone in the industry, from the first manufacturer to the final retailer.
Last week, the regs were published in the Federal Registrar, which means we are now inside our 60-day comment period. Comments must be received on or before August 9, 2013.

The following are the instructions on sending comments, as provided at this site, where you'll find the full text of the proposed regs:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPPT-2012-0018-0001

Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2012-0018, by one of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Mail:     Document Control Office (7407M)    Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT)        Environmental Protection Agency    1200 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.        Washington, DC 20460-0001

Hand Delivery:     OPPT Document Control Office (DCO)     EPA East Bldg., Rm. 6428    1201 Constitution Ave. N.W.    Washington, DC         Attention: Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2012-0018.

The DCO is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the DCO is (202) 564-8930. Such deliveries are only accepted during the DCO's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

Instructions: Direct your comments to docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2012-0018.

EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the docket without change and may be made available on-line at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be

Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through regulations.gov or email. The regulations.gov website is an "anonymous access" system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")