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CARB refers to California Air Resource Board. It was formed with an aim of regulating the formaldehyde emissions which existed in various composite wood products made within the state of California. It became operational by 1st of January 2009. Since then, it has been one of the most envied regulations in wood manufacturing and fabrication industries. In fact, currently, CARB has been adopted by most states in North America and some other parts of the world.

Although implementation of this regulation was very slow, it has brought about sanity in wood manufacturing industries. This regulation was implemented in two major phases.

Phase 1 of the CARB regulation mainly focused on the requirements for ceiling emissions. This was implementation was done by 1st of January 2009. From 2010 to 2012, the regulatory authorities in California focused on implementing phase 2 of CARB’s regulation. This involved monitoring of the Hardwood Plywood (HWPW) production which was done by 1st of January 2010, controlling emissions from Particleboard (PB) and Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) which was done on 1st of January 2011 with the last bit which were all done on 1st of January 2013 which included controlling of emissions from thin MDF and HDWD composite core. In fact, phase 2 of this implementation resulted to a significant reduction of emission of formaldehyde from various composite wood products.

For the success of this implementation process, CARB has partnered with other organizations to help it oversee all the manufacturing and fabrication work being carried in various parts of America especially the state of California. The first Third party Certifier (TPC) which was the first to be approved by CARB was Composite Panel Association (CPA). This has since facilitated implementation of the CARB regulation as required by the state. CARB normally plays a supervisory role to ensure that all products go through the necessary test until it is certified by the third party who reports directly to them directly. For instance, most products are expected to have a label from Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) which is also a third party organization approved by CARB.

Labeling all composite wood products which are to be sold within the state of California is mandatory. Be it a product which had been undergoing manufacturing or fabrication. The information on the label should be readable and no coding is allowed. In fact, the ATCM labels are printed in English. They should be fixed in such a way that they can withstand transportation and any adverse weather conditions. For example in the manufactures label, the following information must be included:

  • Manufacturers name
  • Product lot/ batch produced
  • An identification showing  compliance
  • Statement of compliance

The manufacturer can include any other information which he or she feels is relevant to the consumers but these four are mandatory. As for the case of fabricators, they must have the following in their labels:

  • The name of the fabricating company or person
  • Date when the final product is produced
  • Statement of compliance with the CARB’S regulations

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