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Formaldehyde and Volatile Organic Compounds
Formaldehyde testing is an important step for any type of construction. At room temperature, formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas that has a distinct, pungent smell. Small amounts of formaldehyde are naturally produced by plants, animals and humans. It’s a volatile organic compound (VOC).
The building product industry uses formaldehyde to manufacture a range of building materials. It’s in resins used to manufacture some composite wood products (for example, hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard).
According to the California Department of Public Health, formaldehyde can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat. High levels of exposure have been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer and asthma. In 2008, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) set stringent new standards for formaldehyde emissions.
Under CARB Composite Wood Products ACTM, manufacturers of composite wood products destined for the California market need to get their products certified for low formaldehyde emissions. Fabricators using these materials to create finished items (for example, furniture) need traceability: they must be able to provide records that they have purchased CARB-certified composite wood.
What’s going on in the industry
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently working on new regulations, which mirror the standards already established under CARB ACTM. These rules will put in place one national set of standards for all companies that manufacture or import these products and ensure the same protections for all U.S. citizens.
One of the new rules would implement formaldehyde emission standards under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Title VI program, and would apply to hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods containing these products that are sold, supplied, offered for sale or manufactured (including imported) in the U.S.
What NTA can do:
NTA is one of the only testing laboratories that offers manufacturers a single-stop solution for all testing, certification, inspection and follow-up services. Having all required services performed by a single vendor saves you a significant amount of time and money.
NTA is accredited by the International Accreditation Service (IAS) under ISO/IEC 17025 to test, under ISO/IEC 17020 to inspect and under ISO/IES Guide 65 to certify formaldehyde emissions for composite wood products under CARB Composite Wood Products ACTM using American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and American National Standards for Engineered Wood Flooring (ANSI/HPVA) standards. NTA is approved by CARB and is on the CARB list of approved third-party certifier and testing agencies.
- We offer testing to meet the ASTM E1333: Standard test method for determining formaldehyde concentrations in air and emission rates from wood products using a large chamber with a turnaround time of just eight days. Watch our video.
- For smaller samples, we perform testing to meet the ASTM D6007: Standard test method for determining formaldehyde concentration in air from wood products using a small scale chamber with a turnaround time of just hours. This quick turnaround can be extremely useful. Every manufacturer in the CARB program is required to do frequent, individual batch testing and get results back before shipping out product. Watch our video.
- For smaller samples, we also perform testing to meet the ASTM D5582: Standard test method for determining formaldehyde levels from wood products using a desiccator.
We also conduct tests to certify formaldehyde emissions for manufactured housing under 24 CFR 3280:
- HUD Rules and Regulations 24 CFR 3280.406: Air chamber test method for certification and qualification of formaldehyde emission levels
- HUD Rules and Regulations 24 CFR 3280.308: Formaldehyde emission controls for certain wood products
For more information about our building product testing services, contact us.