Composite Wood Products
This page last reviewed March 3, 2013
Composite Wood Products are wood-based panels made from wood pieces, particles, or fibers bonded together with an adhesive which may consist of urea-formaldehyde. Composite, or "pressed" wood made for indoor use includes: hardwood plywood paneling, used for decorative wall covering and used in cabinets and furniture; particleboard, used as sub-flooring and shelving and in cabinetry and furniture; and medium density fiberboard, used for drawer fronts, cabinets, and furniture tops. Medium density fiberboard contains a higher resin-to-wood ratio than any other UF pressed wood product and is generally recognized as being the highest formaldehyde-emitting pressed wood product.
The Air Resources Board's Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) to control formaldehyde emissions from composite wood specifically focuses on three products: hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium density fiberboard.
Why Regulate Composite Wood Products?
Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen with no known safe level of exposure, and composite wood products are a primary source of human exposure to formaldehyde. This ATCM will reduce the risk of formaldehyde-related cancer by 40 percent (approximately 44 to 123 excess cancers per million).
Who is subject to the Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM)?
The proposed ATCM applies to panel manufacturers, distributors, importers, fabricators, and retailers of hardwood plywood paneling, particleboard, and medium density fiberboard, and finished goods containing those products, that would be sold or supplied to California. To learn more about the ATCM, please view ARB's Composite Wood Products ATCM pamphlet. You may also visit our Composite Wood Products ATCM web page for more information.
Investigators in the Composite Wood Products program purchase samples of regulated products from outlets all over California. They inspect products and packaging for compliance with labeling requirements and send selected products to the laboratory for testing. This program is responsible for investigating violations and presenting findings for suitable resolution. The investigators present violations of criminal laws to prosecutors.
For questions or comments, please contact Virginia Humphreys at (916) 322-6914.