EU Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/1464 of 14 July 2023 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council (REACH Regulation) concerning formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 17.07.2023: EUR-Lex – 32023R1464 – EN – EUR-Lex (europa.eu)
According to this, standardised EU-wide limit values for formaldehyde emissions from products are defined, which will apply from 08-2026 and 08-2027. After 6 August 2026, products may no longer be placed on the market if the concentration of formaldehyde released from these products under the specified test conditions exceeds the following values (after a maximum test period of 28 days)
a) 0.062 mg/m3 for furniture and wood-based products;
b) 0.080 mg/m3 for products other than furniture and wood-based products.
For road vehicles, the requirement applies after 6 August 2027 if the concentration of formaldehyde inside these vehicles exceeds 0.062 mg/m3.
The test methodology for products mentioned under a) and b), on which this regulation is based, largely corresponds to the current EN 717-1, even if this is not explicitly mentioned. The test chamber conditions 23°C/45% RH, loading factor 1m²/m³ and air exchange rate 1/h (+tolerances) apply. Quote from the regulation: “This loading factor corresponds to the testing of wood-based materials; for other materials or other products, if such a loading factor is clearly not realistic under foreseeable conditions of use, loading factors according to section 4.2.2 of standard EN 16516 may be used.”
The level of formaldehyde emissions of these materials from this new requirement corresponds to that of the currently valid German Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance. However, the Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance lists the measurement method according to EN 16516 as the first reference method and the method according to EN 717-1 as an “additional” method, the measurement results of which are then to be multiplied by a factor of 2 in order to comply with the requirement in Germany of 0.1 ppm (=0.124 mg/m³).
The formaldehyde concentration is usually also determined as part of VOC test chamber analyses in accordance with EN 16516. The extent to which these test results can be used for verification in accordance with the new REACH requirements for formaldehyde emissions depends on the specific test chamber conditions used in the measurements. Both are test chamber methods and can be tested with the same test chambers. One difference may be that EN 16516 usually tests at an air exchange rate of 0.5/h and 50%rL. However, these test conditions are much stricter than the conditions quoted above based on EN 717-1, so it may be possible to transfer information from one measurement method to requirements based on the other measurement method.
Products with an eco-INSTITUT-Label certification are tested in accordance with EN 16516 and may have a maximum formaldehyde concentration of 0.024 or 0.036 mg/m³.
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