Wednesday, August 2, 2023
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The European Commission has established a new limit for the concentration of formaldehyde in the air in “living environments”: Regulation 2023/1464, published on 14 July, halves the previous values by setting the limit for 0.062 milligrams per cubic meter emission of this substance considering and citing, in particular, wood-based products and furniture as possible “sources”. It should be noted that the provision establishes as a new limit a value which is exactly half of the limit indicated at the time by the World Health Organization (0.124 mg/m3), on which the well-known and consolidated classification E1 is based, up to now the standard recognized and legally adopted by many European countries, including Italy.
The regulation affects many other products , for which specific limits have been defined: for example, for fabrics, leathers, plastics or electronic products, the limit is now 0.08 mg/m3.
It is undoubtedly worth highlighting that for the first time the sector has a precise “indication” from the European authorities which, unlike the E1 classification, must necessarily be applied by all European countries , as well as obviously also concerning imports.
Companies in the sector will have three years to comply, the period of time necessary for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to define, with the involvement of the European associations and organizations involved, the guidelines on test methods.
All of this was discussed during a very popular webinar organized on July 26 by FederlegnoArredo (the federation of Italian associations representing companies engaged in the processing of wood and its derivatives) and by Catas , which have always collaborated closely to bring the requests of the manufacturing companies in the appropriate forums. There were many questions from the more than 300 participants, although companies are still ready to face this new challenge.
“The restriction on formaldehyde certainly has the advantage of restoring uniformity at a European level: companies already have compliant solutions available on the market for most products. It will be necessary to evaluate the times for adaptation and rotation of the warehouses, in order not to arrive unprepared for the deadline”, commented Omar Degoli , head of the Environment and Circular Economy Office of FederlegnoArredo. “We hope – he added – that equal rigor is applied to surveillance and adequate controls so that even products and semi-finished products imported into Europe from other countries comply with the new limits”.