March 14, 2016
The California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB, is the "clean air agency" within the California Environmental Protection Agency. CARB is responsible for maintaining air quality and protecting the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants. Formaldehyde is mainly used in the production of industrial resins and coatings. Health effects from formaldehyde exposure can include nose and throat irritation, a burning sensation of the eyes, difficulty in breathing, and it can also trigger asthma symptoms. Formaldehyde is also a known human carcinogen. CARB evaluated formaldehyde and found that one of the major sources of exposure is from inhalation of formaldehyde emitted from composite wood products. Composite wood products are manufactured by binding the particles, fibers, or veneers of wood, together with adhesives, which are often based on formaldehyde chemistry. An estimated 2.5 billion square feet of composite wood products including hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB), and medium density fiberboard (MDF) are sold in California annually, primarily as finished products such as flooring, furniture, and cabinetry.