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Press Release

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Mike Burita
Phone: 202.420.9361

Importers Seek Seamless Transition to California's New Formaldehyde Emissions Standard

Alexandria, Virginia – April 16, 2008: Foreign and domestic manufacturers of composite wood products will soon face stricter standards on formaldehyde emissions under new measures by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The new regulation applies to all raw panels or products including cabinetry, flooring, doors and furniture, which must be third party certified and labeled to show compliance. The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) stated its support for the newly defined CARB regulations, which will undergo first stage implementation on January 1, 2009.  

“IWPA members and their suppliers are proud to provide products to U.S. manufacturers, distributors and consumers that meet these strict new standards.” IWPA EVP Brent McClendon said. “We want a seamless transition to this new standard, and uninterrupted supply lines for the California industries that base their global competitiveness on the quality, availability and value provided by imported composite wood products.”


“Compliance with the emissions requirements of this standard is quite doable by the January 1, 2009 deadline”, reported McClendon. “Recognizing this creates new requirements on hardwood plywood producers throughout the world, whether located in Europe, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, or Malaysia, we have asked California for more time to allow third-party certifiers to get ‘up and running’ in producer countries. We’re working closely with California to avoid unnecessary supply disruptions that could cause empty shelves in California’s home improvement stores at a time when the housing and manufacturing base is already struggling”, McClendon continued.


The new measure applies to composite wood products “that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, used, or manufactured for sale in California.” While separate limits were established for different composite wood products, hardwood plywood’s formaldehyde emissions would be capped at 0.08 parts per million (ppm) effective January 1, 2009, and decrease to 0.05 ppm by 2010. The proposed rule also creates new requirements for compliance testing, third-party certification and imposes new product labeling requirements for manufacturers.


For details on the latest developments on implementation of the new CARB regulation, visit here.


Established in 1956, IWPA is the leading international trade association for the North American imported wood products industry, representing 220 companies and trade associations engaged in the import of hardwoods and softwoods from sustainably managed forests. Association members consist of three key groups involved in the import process: U.S. importers and consuming industries, offshore manufacturers and the service providers that facilitate trade. 


Industry Information

IWPA publishes information on the U.S. imported woods industry and works closely with organizations that can provide market information, trade data and technical assistance. A few include:

  • IWPA Grading Rules: Internationally recognized product standards of IWPA are technical guidelines of  principal types, grades and other requirements for imported wood products.
  • Wood Species Library: Technical data on domestic, imported, and lesser-known species from the U.S. Forest Products Lab.
  • U.S. Import Statistics: U.S. import statistics for both hardwood and softwood products.

IWPA - 4214 King Street - Alexandria, Virginia 22302
Phone: 703/820-6696; Fax: 703/820-8550; email

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