From January 1, 2020, Germany will require all products made from wood-based materials to comply with its new test standard for formaldehyde emission – DIN EN 16516.
According to Appendix 1 of Germany’s Chemikalien-Verbotsverordnung (Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance) formaldehyde emission is restricted to no more than 0.1 ml/m³ (ppm), in:
- Coated and uncoated wood-based materials – chipboards, blockboards, veneer boards and fiberboards
- Furniture made from these materials
The decision to make DIN EN 16516 the new test method for formaldehyde emission was announced in November 2018 by the Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety). The statement also states that the existing method, DIN EN 717-1 can be used in parallel but with double the concentration value.
These two methods, in this concentration in the case of DIN EN 717-1, will be the only permissible test methods for formaldehyde emission measurements in a chamber after January 1, 2020. Until this date, the follow methods remain valid:
- Bundesgesundheitsblatt 34, 10 (1991), pages 488-499 as a test method for wood-based materials and products manufactured from wood-based materials
- DIN EN 717-1 ‘Wood-based panels – Determination of formaldehyde release – Part 1: Formaldehyde emission by the chamber method’ as a reference method for emission measurements in a chamber for all wood-based materials
- EN ISO 12460-3 ‘Wood-based panels – Determination of formaldehyde release – Part 3: Gas analysis method’ as a derived method for raw plywood boards and coated boards
- EN ISO 12460-5 ‘Wood-based panels – Determination of formaldehyde release – Part 5: Extraction method (called the perforator method) as a derived method for raw chipboards and raw fiberboards
Germany has updated its reference method following research by the Federal Environmental Agency and the Federal Institute for Materials Research (BAM), which showed that measurements for formaldehyde emissions from wood-based materials should be adapted to more realistic conditions.
Stakeholders are now advised to check their products comply with the latest formaldehyde emission requirements in Germany.
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