New CSA Group Standard Limiting Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions (formaldehyde) from Composite Wood Products for Residential Building Materials now Available for Public Review

CSA Group, a leading provider of standards development services, today announced that a proposed health-based standard limiting VOC (formaldehyde) emissions from composite wood products used in residential building materials is now available for public review with a closing date of January 10, 2016. The draft standard, CSA O160-VOC – Emissions Standard for Composite Wood Products: Formaldehyde is available for public and stakeholder feedback by visiting http://publicreview.csa.ca/Home/Details/1809.

VOCs are a diverse group of chemicals emitted into the air from various sources, including those inside the home. Exposure to these chemicals over a long period of time can potentially cause health concerns. Consumers, builders, architects, environmental health advocates and manufacturers recognize the need for a health-based standard and certification program to ensure that building materials do not emit harmful levels of VOCs, especially over the long term. The intent of this process is to address indoor air quality issues in part through the development of health-based residential product emission standards. Following a comparison of health-based long-term inhalation limits and Canadian residential indoor air exposure concentrations, VOCs were identified, formaldehyde in particular, which had the potential for long-term inhalation health concerns in residential environments.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) has measured VOC emissions, including formaldehyde, from building materials and has modelled the resulting indoor air concentrations of these chemicals. Based on their emission data and data from the scientific literature, one of the potentially significant sources of formaldehyde in residential indoor air is composite wood products from building materials.  The proposed new standard, CSA O160-VOC, is intended to address this concern by limiting the amount of formaldehyde that can be released from composite wood panels covered under this standard. It is expected that compliance with this standard will have a protective effect in terms of helping to keep indoor concentrations of formaldehyde to below acceptable levels.

In developing this standard, CSA Group’s technical committee evaluated product emissions chamber data and Canadian housing characteristics to develop health-based product emissions levels for individual composite wood products.

CSA Group encourages and welcomes the involvement and feedback from individuals, organizations and stakeholders. The draft standard is being made available for a 60-day public review to permit interested parties to provide comments and participate in its development. Upon consideration of any feedback, the technical committee will determine if changes are required before the standard is approved and submitted to Standards Council of Canada for consideration as a National Standard of Canada.

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.


Allison Hawkins
Manager, Corporate Affairs
CSA Group
[email protected]


November 17, 2015