California Air Resources Board (CARB) is a committee within California’s Environmental Protection Agency whose role is to protect the public from exposure to air pollution. This includes setting statewide emission standards for pollution sources ranging from auto emissions to consumer products. Formaldehyde, a toxic air contaminant (TAC) present in many composite wood products, is one such pollution source regulated by CARB. In 2007, CARB approved a measure to reduce such emissions, typically found in hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium density fiberboard panels. These materials are used in finished goods such as flooring, furniture, and cabinets.
A composite wood product with a label of CARB Phase II compliant or the equivalent Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Title VI compliant has gone through quarterly inspections and routine quality-control testing at manufacturing locations to verify that formaldehyde levels fall within emission standards. All composite wood products must be CARB-certified in order to be used, sold, or manufactured in California. Inspections are conducted by authorized third-party certifiers.