New National Standard of Canada protects Canadians by improving indoor air quality

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and CSA Group today announced the publication of a National Standard of Canada (NSC) intended to help protect Canadians by improving the quality of indoor air in their homes.

Consumers, builders, architects, environmental health advocates and manufacturers recognized the need for a voluntary health-based standard to limit formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. Formaldehyde can be emitted into the air from various indoor sources, including building materials. This pollutant is an irritant that can potentially cause adverse health effects when inhaled. Exposure to high concentrations of formaldehyde can cause burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat. Long-term exposure to moderate formaldehyde concentrations (at levels lower than those causing irritation) may also be linked to respiratory symptoms and allergic sensitivity, especially in children.

CAN/CSA‑0160, Formaldehyde emissions standard for composite wood products, applies to composite wood products including unfinished composite wood panels, hardwood plywood (including composite and veneer core), particleboard, medium density fibreboard (MDF) and thin MDF. Compliance with the standard will help make sure that off-gassing of formaldehyde from newly manufactured, unfinished composite wood products meets acceptable levels in homes, which are based on Health Canada’s Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline for formaldehyde.

SCC provided support for the development of this standard as part of its ongoing work to help ensure that standards are relevant, up to date and deliver standardization solutions that keep Canadians safe.

The new standard is available at no charge:


“This new National Standard of Canada is an example of Canada’s standardization network’s commitment to advancing standardization solutions that protect the health and well-being Canadians.”
– John Walter, Chief Executive Officer, SCC

“CSA Group is committed to developing standards that contribute to social good and to a more sustainable world. The formaldehyde standard will help contribute to healthier homes and workspaces for Canadians.”
– Magali Depras, President of Standards, CSA Group


May 26, 2016