The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) reformed formaldehyde emission standards took effect on 1 June. All composite wood products in the entire country have to be certified according to the CARB emission standards. This also places new requirements on Koskisen, which exports thin-veneer plywood, such as panels for laser cutting, to the U.S. All competing products in the market don't necessarily fulfill these requirements.
The CARB certificate was developed by the California Air Resource Board and adopted by the State of California in 2007. Certification proves that products’ formaldehyde emissions remain below the threshold limits.
Formaldehyde or methanal is a harmful gas, which may be emitted into the air, for example, from adhesives used in the plywood industry. Exposure to excessive concentrations in the air through breathing is harmful, and it may cause eye, nose and throat irritation.
Koskisen’s KoskiStandard EXT, KoskiPly EXT, KoskiPly INT and KoskiFlex products have been granted the CARB certificate, allowing continued sales in the U.S. The aim is to have the certificate for all Koskisen’s plywood products by June, since it is required also for products that are processed, for example, into furniture abroad and sold to the U.S. CARB certification for Koskisen’s chipboard panels is also under way.
According to Koskisen’s Quality Specialist, Santtu Eilamo, the conditions for obtaining certificates for all products exist. Formaldehyde content in, for example, exterior glued plywood panels is only about one tenth of the limit of 0.05 ppm prescribed in the CARB standard.
“The conformity of our production and formaldehyde emissions are monitored through regular certifications performed by a third party (R.I.S.E) recognised by EPA. Our internal quality control monitors the process continuously and determines formaldehyde concentrations regularly,” Eilamo explains.
The CARB certificate has gained attention also outside the U.S. Eilamo says European customers have been inquiring about the certificate, even though it lacks official status. Complying with green values is considered important.
Koskisen’s Specialist, R&D and Sales, Timo Eskelinen points out that the certificate is not only proof of safety and quality, but also of environmental friendliness.
“Certifications reflect compliance with laws and regulations. These are also responsibility issues, which emerge regularly. You have to have someone working full-time to ensure the matter is getting the attention it deserves,” Eskelinen says.
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