Composite Wood Products ATCM

This page last reviewed May 16, 2019

comp wood pics Formaldehyde is produced on a large scale worldwide.  One major use includes the production of wood binding adhesives and resins.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) evaluated formaldehyde exposure in California and found that one of the major sources of exposure is from inhalation of formaldehyde emitted from composite wood products containing urea-formaldehyde resins.  Formaldehyde is a respiratory irritant.  In addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies formaldehyde as being "carcinogenic to humans" based on the increased risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. Formaldehyde was also designated as a toxic air contaminant (TAC) in California in 1992 with no safe level of exposure.  State law requires CARB to take action to reduce human exposure to all TACs.

CARB staff conducted a formal rulemaking process to address formaldehyde exposure from composite wood products.  On April 26, 2007, CARB approved an airborne toxic control measure (ATCM) to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, including hardwood plywood, particleboard, medium density fiberboard, thin medium density fiberboard, and finished goods (e.g. floorings, cabinets and furniture) made with composite wood products.

The ATCM to control formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products became effective January 1, 2009.  The final regulation text is available in several languages and can be accessed by visiting our Foreign Outreach Webpage.


Recent Activity
Description  Date Posted
Status of U.S. EPA Formaldehyde Regulation    Updated  
Comparison Table of Key U.S. EPA and CARB Requirements    Updated
May 16, 2019
Facts About Flooring Made with Composite Wood Products   March 3, 2015

For more information, please contact us via email at , or contact Julie Cooper at (916) 323-0018, or contact Lynn Baker at (916) 324-6997, or Maria Vacaru at (916) 322-7433.