Formacare press release on the restriction on formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers in articles

31 May 2022

Formacare calls for a restriction that ensures the highest level of consumer safety while preserving the European Single Market for products using formaldehyde.

Formacare, a sector group of Cefic, takes note of the draft proposal for a restriction on formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers in articles and vehicles published by the European Commission on 2 May 2022. The formaldehyde industry supports a restriction under REACH which addresses the potential risk for consumers from unsafe products, tackles unfair competition coming from outside Europe, and harmonises the quality of articles within Europe, in particular concerning wood-based panels. Formacare is concerned that the current draft overlooks the objective to strengthen the EU Single Market by tackling unfair competition.

Lars Eric Johansson, Chairman of Formacare:

“Formacare supports science-based decision making and agrees with the limit values set for formaldehyde emissions by the Scientific Committees in ECHA as well as the proposed transition periods. We do not question the need for regulatory action to ensure the highest level of consumer safety. We hope the restriction will place equal importance on the integrity of the European single market.”

As such, Formacare calls on the European Commission, in concertation with the national competent authorities in the REACH Committee, to delete the following paragraph from the Annex, section 1.1 (page 4) to the restriction proposal:

Formaldehyde released from articles referred to in paragraph 1, first subparagraph, of entry xx] may also be measured in the air of a test chamber under the reference conditions that are more stringent than the ones listed in the first paragraph of this point; higher temperature and/or higher relative humidity and/or higher loading factor and/or lower air exchange rate shall be considered to be more stringent conditions”.

Formacare would like to raise the following concerns in relation to this paragraph:

  • Enforcement of the restriction cannot be guaranteed as the restriction proposal does not provide reliable testing conditions for the measurement of formaldehyde emissions from articles, which may lead to the use of non-standardised methods across Europe.
  • The lack of reliable testing conditions is inconsistent with the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/2139, which establishes the technical screening criteria on taxonomy for climate change mitigation or adaptation[1].
  • Consequently, if this paragraph is kept in the final restriction, it would open the EU single market to unfair competition and a risk of not achieving the objective of improving the safety of articles placed on the EU market, in contradiction with the objectives of the REACH regulation.

Formacare calls on the European Commission and competent authorities in the REACH Committee meeting on June 21st - 22nd to address our concerns and to make this restriction a success for both consumer safety and the European industry.

[1] Under this legislation, building components and materials used in construction must emit less than 0,06 mg of formaldehyde per m3, tested in accordance with the conditions specified in Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006.