Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products Regulations factsheet
The Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products Regulations (CANFER) protect the health of Canadians by reducing potential exposure to formaldehyde emissions from types of composite wood products typically used indoors.
Formaldehyde is a colourless gas with a strong unpleasant odour. One of its uses is in the production of industrial resins used in permanent adhesives for building materials. In particular, composite wood products are a known source of formaldehyde. They may emit it continuously and in measurable quantities into the ambient air of closed places, such as houses.
Formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and can worsen asthma symptoms, especially in children. When found at high levels in the air, such as in some industrial environments, it has been associated with cancer of the nasal passages.
Since January 7, 2023, CANFER prohibits anyone from importing, selling, or offering for sale, a composite wood product containing formaldehyde, unless they comply with its requirements.
Examples of product types covered by CANFER
Key roles under CANFER
The following sections present some of the key roles under CANFER for any individual or organization subject to these Regulations. For a full description of the responsibilities, please refer to CANFER.
Emission limits and testing
Manufacturers of composite wood panels and laminated products must regularly analyze their products according to specified test methods. They must also have them certified by a third party certifier to help ensure they remain compliant with emission limits. In turn, finished goods, such as furniture or flooring, must only include certified composite wood panels and laminated products that meet the emission limits. Please refer to CANFER requirements for formaldehyde emission limits for each product type.
*Note: Manufacturers of panels and laminated products are required to notify purchasers of any lots that exceed the emission limits. Then, they must inform Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) of the non-compliant lot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must observe specific record keeping requirements if you belong to one of the following groups:
- Manufacturers of composite wood products
- Importers of composite wood products
- Sellers of composite wood products
You have to maintain records in Canada for a period of 5 years and for most records, you must keep them available for inspection upon request. If you have multiple roles (e.g., you are an importer and seller of finished goods), you must follow the record keeping requirements for each of your activities.
You must label all composite wood products before selling them in Canada. Otherwise, the seller must retain a copy of the label and make it available upon request. Composite wood products that already have a bilingual label that indicates compliance with the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) will be recognized as meeting Canadian labelling requirements.
Within 60 days of CANFER coming into force (i.e. by March 8, 2023), all parties subject to the Regulations must identify themselves to ECCC at email@example.com by their:
- Contact information
- Role (for example, finished good importer)
You must also notify ECCC of any subsequent changes to the information.
- Formaldehyde section on the Health Canada website
- Guidance document on the Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products Regulations
- Guidance for third party certifiers: composite wood products containing formaldehyde
This document does not in any way supersede or modify the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), the Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products Regulations, the Directive Concerning Testing for Formaldehyde Emissions, or offer any legal interpretation of the Act or the Regulations. In the event of an inconsistency between this document and the Act or the Regulations, the Act and the Regulations take precedence.
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