What is CARB compliance, TSCA Title VI and who does it affect?

What is TSCA Title VI?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products. These emissions standards went into effect June 1, 2018 and exactly match the California Air Resources Board ATCM Phase 2 emissions standards. Products which are CARB Phase 2 compliant are TSCA Title VI compliant. Decore-ative Specialties products are compliant with all required regulation. Not all Decore’s products are regulated by the EPA TSCA Title VI or CARB ATCM. Your invoice will indicate the order numbers that fall under the appropriate regulation. Appropriate products are labelled compliant for TSCA Title VI, but make no mention of CARB ATCM. This is because the labelling of the federal EPA standard implies compliance with the California standard.

What is CARB?

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) implemented the Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM). This measure went into effect January 1, 2009 and places new requirements on the allowable formaldehyde emissions for products for sale in California that are made with MDF, particle board and hardwood plywood. Decore-ative Specialties uses these products in the manufacturing process and therefore made changes to comply with the regulations. Decore-ative Specialties’ customers were also affected by the regulations on which materials could be bought and sold within California.

Formaldehyde is a chemical compound that is used in the resin (glue) that binds particles together in MDF, particle board, and plywood. It is found in wood doors with plywood or MDF panels, drawer boxes with plywood bottoms, Deco-Form® doors, Expressions® doors, Laminate doors and Veneer doors. There were two phases to the ATCM that were put in place over the last several years, with the allowable amount of formaldehyde decreasing with each phase. With both phases in place, California has the strictest regulations on formaldehyde levels in composite wood products in the world.


  • ATCM: Airborne Toxic Control Measure. Beginning in January 2009, it regulates the amount of formaldehyde emissions allowed in composite wood products.
  • CARB: California Air Resources Board. The government agency responsible for ensuring compliance with ATCM.
  • Formaldehyde: A chemical compound that is used in the resin that binds particles together in MDF, particle board and plywood. Has been found to have cancer and non-cancer related health effects.
  • MDF: Medium Density Fiberboard. Now regulated by ATCM.
  • PB: Particle Board. Now regulated by ATCM.
  • HWPW: Hardwood Plywood. Now regulated by ATCM.
  • NAF: No added formaldehyde. Special products that may contain small amounts of natural formaldehyde but have no additional formaldehyde added in the manufacturing process.
  • ULEF: Ultra Low Emitting Formaldehyde. Special products with very low amounts of formaldehyde. The amount in these products is below the requirement for Phase 2 of the ATCM.