Frequently Asked Questions: Miscellaneous
(HWPW = hardwood plywood; HWPW-VC = hardwood plywood veneer core; HWPW-CC = hardwood plywood composite core; PB = particleboard; MDF = medium density fiberboard)
- Are reload warehouses classified as a distribution warehouse or a manufacturing warehouse? Example: take rail cars of product to a reload warehouse and distribute truckloads from there. All warehouses are owned by independent third parties and are established as separate business entities from manufacturing companies. Reload warehouses would be considered as distributors who must take reasonable prudent precautions to ensure that compliant products are purchased for resale to California.
- Is an "installer" of architectural woodwork and miscellaneous cabinetry (e.g., on-site milling and matching, setting up, installing, adjusting, positioning, etc.) responsible for recordkeeping under the ATCM? No. The ATCM does not apply to business entities that only install cabinetry for California consumers, since they are not considered to be a fabricator or a manufacturer. As an "installer," these business entities only put finished goods into service and are not involved in the fabrication, purchase, or sale of products containing the composite wood products for downstream customers. If an installer uses composite wood products in the act of "installing" finished goods in California, then the installer must use complying composite wood products.
- Does a retailer need to know what type(s) of composite wood product(s) a given piece of furniture or finished good contains? Yes, to the degree that it satisfies the retailers need to demonstrate "reasonable prudent precautions". As many components in furniture are made with HWPW, PB or MDF, retailers must work with their suppliers to ensure that the finished goods were made with compliant materials. Retailers must ask for and receive from their suppliers, a statement of compliance that indicates that the finished goods that they are supplied for sale in California were made with composite wood products that comply with applicable California standards.
- The regulation states that no person shall "supply" any composite wood product which, at the time of sale or manufacture, does not comply with the emission standards. What is meant by "supply"? If a distributor is providing cabinets to a builder or contractor of new homes, the distributor would be "supplying" finished goods to his customer.
- Are refurbished products regarded as used products? Yes. Refurbished or reconditioned items are not sold as new. Hence, they would fall under "used goods' and not be covered by the regulation.
- Is an installer (i.e., closet company), who purchases full-sized laminated panels, cutting them into shelves, edge banding them and trimming their work for installation considered a retailer or fabricator? If a closet company is simply purchasing composite wood products or component parts and then taking them to a consumer and installing shelving/closets, then they would be considered as a retailer. In this case, a retailer is not making a new product, simply installing a pre-fabricated product according to the steps necessary for on-site carpentry, assembly and installation. Retailers need to take reasonable prudent precautions to ensure that they obtain compliant composite wood products, and keep records to demonstrate their products comply with the applicable emission standards.
However, if a business exists in which, panels are cut, edge banded, and essentially "new fabricated products" are produced, then that business would be considered as a fabricator. In addition to demonstrating the use of complying composite wood products, fabricators also need to label the finished products. To document their purchases and use of compliant materials to California, fabricators must keep records showing the dates of purchase and suppliers of composite wood products that they used.
- Can noncompliant composite wood panels and/or finished goods be donated after the expiration of an applicable sell-through period? No. Business entities may not opt for donating their noncompliant inventories. In the ATCM (California Code of Regulations, title 17, Section 93120 (b)), the purpose is stated as "…the purpose of this airborne toxic control measure is to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, that are sold, offered for sale, supplied, used, or manufactured for sale in California. By making donations, a business would be "supplying" noncompliant products and potentially exposing the California public to high-emitting and unhealthy products.
- Are travel goods, including backpacks, luggage, leather goods, business and travel accessories, handbags, business and computer cases etc., that contain small amount of composite wood products subject to the ATCM? Why do I have to use compliant materials if linings and other durable materials fully encapsulates the composite wood products? Under the ATCM, some items such as backpacks, luggage, leather goods, business, and travel accessories, etc., would be considered finished goods if they contain HWPW, PB or MDF. For these products, you would be subject to the regulatory requirements, provided they are sold or supplied to the California market.
The ATCM does not allow exemptions for de minimus use in finished goods, other than those specifically identified for windows and exterior doors (for additional information refer to questions #3 & #4 of Exemptions FAQs). The ATCM is an example of pollution prevention because the strict surface formaldehyde emission standards on composite wood panels will necessitate the use of advanced resins systems that will either eliminate or chemically bind formaldehyde, thereby preventing pollution before it occurs. Therefore, we do not view coverings as emissions mitigation. At some point, even covered high-emitting composite wood products will emit into the atmosphere over time as products are worn and damaged. The broad applicability was necessary to ensure that all fabricators of California finished goods would use only certified lower-emitting composite wood products.
- Are manufactured homes or mobile homes subject to the ATCM? The ATCM does not apply to HWPW or PB manufactured, sold, supplied for installation, or installed in manufactured homes subject to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations. However, the ATCM does apply to any MDF or thin MDF products installed in manufactured homes designated for sale in California. On January 31, 2020, HUD issued a final rule, effective March 2, 2020, for aligning formaldehyde emission control standards for certain wood products in manufactured home construction with Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As a result the HWPW and PB manufactured, sold, supplied for installation, or installed in manufactured homes anywhere in the US are subject to the TSCA Title VI formaldehyde regulation
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