EU Issues Proposal to Restrict Formaldehyde in Articles

SGS, the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company, is advising stakeholders that the European Union (EU) has issued draft legislation to restrict formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing substances in articles.

If accepted, the draft legislation would add a new entry to Annex XVII of Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 ‘Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals’ (Annex XVII of REACH).

It contains several important points and provisions:

  • Intentionally added formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing substances regulated in:
  1. Wood-based articles and furniture: 0.062 mg/m³
  2. Articles other than wood-based articles and furniture: 0.08 mg/m³
  3. Vehicle interiors: 0.062 mg/m³
  • Provides a descriptive chamber method in the Appendix for wood-based articles and furniture, as well as other articles
  • ISO 12219-1 and ISO 12219-10, or an equivalent method, stipulated for the vehicle interior, including trucks and buses
  • Exemptions include articles for:
  1. Outdoor use only under reasonably foreseeable conditions
  2. Industrial and professional use exclusively unless there is exposure to the general public under foreseeable use
  3. Under the scope of entry 72 to Annex XVII of REACH
  4. Biocidal products (Regulation (EU) 528/2012)
  5. Medical devices (Regulation (EU) 2017/745)
  6. Personal protective equipment (PPE, Regulation (EU) 2016/425)
  7. Food contact materials and articles (Regulation (EU) 1935/2004)
  8. Second-hand articles
  • Clarifies that toys for children of all ages are within the scope of restrictions (preamble, point 35)

Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of formaldehyde-based resins, thermoplastics and other chemicals, which are further used in a wide variety of applications. Formaldehyde-based resins are primarily used in the production of wood-based panels, wood-based products such as furniture and flooring, wallpaper, foam, parts for vehicles and airplanes, as well as textile and leather products.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) circulated the notification on May 2, 2022, attached to WTO document number 22-3408. It suggests adoption will take place in Q4 of 2022, with an enforcement date 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Implementation will then be undertaken in two phases, possibly in:

  • 2026 – wood-based articles and furniture, as well as other articles
  • 2027 – vehicle interiors

SGS REACH Services

SGS keeps interested parties informed about developments and changes to REACH regulations. Their expertise, combined with consultancy services and experience in consumer product supply chains, provides a central point of contact for global solutions. Learn more about SGS’s REACH Services.

SGS SafeGuardS keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in the consumer goods industry. Read the full EU Proposes to Regulate Formaldehyde in Articles SafeGuardS.

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For further information contact:

Dr. HingWo Tsang

Global Information and Innovation Manager

Tel: (+852) 2774 7420



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