TSCA and Wood Products: What Importers Should Know

TSCA and Wood Products: What Importers Should Know

tsca wood products

In the realm of international trade, it’s essential for importers dealing with wood products to understand the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Title VI, which imposes strict formaldehyde emissions standards on composite wood products. As these regulations affect a wide range of businesses—from manufacturers to retailers—it’s crucial for stakeholders in the supply chain to understand the types of products impacted and the steps importers must take to ensure compliance.

What does the TSCA Title VI require?

Under TSCA Title VI, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that composite wood products must undergo testing and certification to ensure that only compliant products enter the supply chain. This involves certification by an EPA-recognized third-party certifier (TPC), often referred to as an EPA TSCA Title VI TPC. The EPA recognizes three types of composite wood products regulations:

  • – Hardwood plywood
  • – Medium-density fiberboard (MDF), including thin MDF
  • – Particleboard

In addition to testing and certification, the regulation imposes recordkeeping, reporting and labeling requirements. All applications and notifications related to the final rule must be submitted through the EPA Central Data Exchange (CDX), ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the process.

Both parties need to work together to ensure compliance. For instance, importers should verify that manufacturers have conducted the necessary testing and certification before importing the products. Additionally, manufacturers should provide the required documentation and labeling to support compliance.

Which types of businesses are affected by TSCA Title VI?

TSCA Title VI impacts various entities within the supply chain, including composite wood panel producers, fabricators, third-party certifiers, importers, distributors and retailers. Here’s a breakdown of the businesses likely to be affected by TSCA Title VI:

  • – Furniture merchant wholesalers
  • – Lumber, plywood, millwork, and wood panel merchant wholesalers
  • – Furniture stores
  • – Building material and supplies dealers
  • – Manufactured (mobile) home dealers
  • – Recreational vehicle (RV) dealers
  • – Recreational vehicle merchant wholesalers
  • – Other construction material merchant wholesalers, wholesale distributors of manufactured homes and/or prefabricated buildings

Which products are exempt from TSCA Title VI?

Several products are exempt from TSA Title VI, including:

  • – Hardboard
  • – Structural plywood
  • – Structural panels
  • – Structural composite lumber
  • – Military-specified plywood
  • – Curved plywood
  • – Oriented strand board
  • – Glued laminated lumber
  • – Prefabricated wood l-joists
  • – Finger-joined lumber
  • – Wood packaging (e.g., pallets, crates, spools, dunnage)
    *Please note: this list is a sampling. Visit the EPA’s website to view the full list.

How can importers be compliant with TSCA Title VI?

The key steps importers can take to ensure compliance with TSCA Title VI include:

  • Sourcing compliant wood products: Importers should source composite wood products from suppliers who provide documentation certifying compliance with TSCA Title VI regulations, including ensuring that the products have been tested and certified by an EPA-recognized third-party certifier (TPC).
  • Verifying proper labeling: Importers must verify that composite wood products are properly labeled as TSCA Title VI compliant. Labels should indicate that the products have been tested and certified, providing assurance of their compliance with formaldehyde emission standards.
  • Maintaining records: Importers should maintain detailed records of all imported composite wood products, including documentation of testing and certification by third-party certifiers. These records should be kept for at least three years after the date of importation and must be readily available for inspection by regulatory authorities.
  • Providing import certification: Importers are required to provide an import certification for all imported articles, affirming compliance with TSCA regulations. This certification should be included with the shipment and must be accurate and complete.
  • Ensuring proper documentation: Importers should ensure that all required documentation, including import certifications and labeling information, accompanies the imported products throughout the supply chain, which helps to facilitate compliance verification and ensures transparency in the import process.
  • Staying informed: Importers should stay informed about any updates or changes to TSCA regulations that may impact their import activities, which includes regularly reviewing guidance from regulatory authorities and industry organizations to ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements.

What is the history of TSCA Title VI?

On July 7, 2010, the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act was enacted into law, becoming Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This legislation was a response to growing concerns about the health impacts of formaldehyde emissions, a common issue with composite wood products used in a variety of consumer goods, including furniture and building materials.

A pivotal moment leading to this legislation occurred in 2007, when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted the Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) for composite wood products. These standards, which became effective in 2009, were among the strictest in the nation and set stringent limits on formaldehyde emissions.

TSCA Title VI specifically aimed to align national standards with those established by CARB. The CARB standards had been effective in reducing formaldehyde emissions at the state level, and the adoption of these standards at the federal level under TSCA Title VI intended to ensure a uniform national threshold.

The act mandated the EPA to implement regulations that would ensure compliance with the established formaldehyde emission standards. These regulations outline the responsibilities of manufacturers, importers, and distributors of composite wood products, including:

  • – Certification Requirements: As of June 1, 2018, all composite wood products manufactured in or imported into the United States must be certified as compliant with the emission standards by an EPA-recognized Third-Party Certifier (TPC), which could also be CARB-approved.
  • Labeling: As of March 2019, only TSCA Title VI compliance labels are permitted.
  • Import Certification: From March 22, 2019, onward, an import certification is required for all regulated composite wood products entering the United States.
  • Regulations for Laminated Products: As of March 2024, non-exempt laminated products are classified as hardwood plywood, which subjects them to stricter panel producer requirements under TSCA Title VI.

By aligning these standards nationally with California’s rigorous requirements, the regulation aims to provide uniform safety standards across the country, reducing exposure to harmful chemicals and improving indoor air quality.

Let Ascent Handle Your International Logistics Needs

Navigating the intricacies of TSCA Title VI and its regulations on wood products is vital for maintaining supply chain integrity and ensuring product safety. As these regulatory demands grow increasingly complex, leveraging expert logistics solutions becomes crucial.

At Ascent, we specialize in helping businesses navigate international shipping challenges for wood products, ensuring compliance with not just TSCA Title VI but also other global regulations. We invite you to explore our international freight forwarding solutions to learn how we can support your business needs in this regulated landscape.


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