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.

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.

Germany has announced DIN EN 16516 as the new reference method for formaldehyde emission from wood-based materials. This standard will become effective on January 1, 2020.

Appendix 1 to the German Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance (Chemikalien-Verbotsverordnung, ChemVerbotsV)restricts, among other things, formaldehyde emission from coated and uncoated wood-based materials (chipboards, blockboards, veneer boards and fiberboards) and furniture containing wood-based materials to no more than 0.1 ml/m³ (ppm). This restriction limit also applies to an entire piece of furniture containing wood-based materials.

In November 2018, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit, BMU) announced DIN EN 16516 as the new reference method for formaldehyde emission (in a chamber) from coated and uncoated wood-based materials under the Chemicals Prohibition Ordinance.

The announcement, published in the Federal Register (Bundesanzeiger, BAnz AT 26.11.2018 B2), allows the existing DIN EN 717-1 method to be used in parallel with the new method, but requiring the concentration value of formaldehyde in DIN EN 717-1 to be multiplied by a factor of two (2). It also allows EN ISO 12460 Parts 3 and 5 standards only to be used for correlations in production control under certain prerequisites.

According to the announcement, the following methods are only valid until December 31, 2019:

  • 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

The use of DIN EN 16516, and DIN EN 717-1 by multiplying the concentration of formaldehyde by two, for formaldehyde emission measurements in a chamber will become effective on January 1, 2020.

The changes to the reference method stem from a research project by the Federal Environmental Agency and the Federal Institute for Materials Research (BAM) where measurements for formaldehyde emissions from wood-based materials should be adapted to more realistic conditions.

Highlights of the announcement for these two chamber methods are summarized in Table 1.

German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Announcement of analytical procedures for sampling and testing for substances and groups of substances in Appendix 1 to the Chemicals Prohibitions Ordinance
Federal Gazette, November 26, 2018
Substance Scope Method Requirement Effective Date
Formaldehyde (emission) Coated and uncoated wood-based materials DIN EN 16516 ≤ 0.1 ppm January 1, 2020
DIN EN 717-1*
 *Concentration value of formaldehyde measured at the steady state to be multiplied by a factor of 2.

Table 1

NEXT STEP:

Stakeholders are advised to comply with the latest requirements for wood-based materials for the German market.

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