Testing for Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde Emission Standards

Formaldehyde Testing and Emission Standards

Formaldehyde is contained in and emitted into air by many different products used in buildings. Despite changes in the manufacturing of composite wood and other products over the last 25 years, formaldehyde is still a primary indoor air quality (IAQ) concern. Berkeley Analytical (BkA) has a long history with the testing of products for formaldehyde emission and content. We have the capability to conduct testing in accordance with many formaldehyde emission standards such as CDPH Standard Method V1.1, ANSI/BIFMA M7.1, ASTM D6007, and EN 717-1. We operate several Field and Laboratory Emission Cells (FLECs), which allow the rapid determination of emissions from planar materials following ASTM D7143. We use ASTM D5197 and ISO 16000-3 for the sampling and analysis of formaldehyde and other low molecular weight carbonyl compounds. These methods provide excellent sensitivity (about 1 µg/m3 in a typical chamber test) and high precision for repeatability of testing under the various formaldehyde emission standards.

The same chemistry used for the sampling and analysis of formaldehyde in chamber air samples is adaptable to other applications, such as the determination of total formaldehyde content in liquid products and the determination of leachable and extractable amounts of formaldehyde in solid products. As examples, these studies have been applied to the testing of cosmetic products and resin systems and to the evaluation of clean room gloves and garments.

Contact us to discuss your formaldehyde testing and analytical needs and to request a quotation.

Impact of CARB ATCM on Manufacturers

BkA offers formaldehyde testing services for manufacturers impacted by the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) ATCM to control formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. This regulation applies to composite wood cores used in furniture and other products, not to finished goods. The Phase 2 emission requirements were fully implemented beginning July 2012. For particleboard and MDF, the Phase 2 emission limits are about half of Phase 1 limits. Significantly, these requirements are “caps," meaning they are hard numbers that cannot be exceeded in a production run. 

BkA’s CARB ATCM formaldehyde testing services for manufacturers include:

  • Production quality control testing for manufacturers of regulated composite woods
  • Quality control testing of supplier's composite wood cores for finished goods
  • Diagnostic and deconstruction studies

BkA’s chamber methods for formaldehyde emission testing of composite woods have been validated by our continued participation and performance in CARB inter-laboratory studies involving over 30 international laboratories. Our services have provided furniture industry manufacturers with the confidence they needed to transition to new composite wood cores while balancing a number of competing requirements. Additionally, we have performed finished board deconstruction studies for the furniture industry to investigate the effects of veneers, finishes, and adhesives on the formaldehyde emission of core materials.