18-1002 v3.X Equivalent Standards for I10-E11 Composite Wood Sheet Goods 3.x


This dialogue post relates to international equivalency in the emissions of formaldehyde from engineered wood products. 

The Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA) certification determines limits to the amount of formaldehyde that can be released from reconstituted wood based panels and flooring. Wood products supplied according to this EWPAA certification will have the classification of maximum formaldehyde emitted indicated on the label over a range of formaldehyde emission classes (Super E0 through to E3), and Formaldehyde Emission Limits in milligrams per litre (mg/l), as below:

Australian manufactured Wood Panel MDF and Particleboard panels tested according to AS/NZS 4266.1-2017 cannot exceed the following limits:

Super E0 = Less than or equal to 0.3 mg/l (best)

E0 = 0.5 mg/l

E1 = 1.0 mg/l

E2 = 2.0 mg/l

E3 = 2.0 mg/l (worst)

As far as we understand, under CARB Phase II, Ultra-Low-Emitting-Formaldehyde (ULEF) test values cannot exceed the following limits:

Hardwood plywood - 0.05 ppm

Particleboard – 0.08 ppm

MDF – 0.09 ppm

Thin MDF – 0.11 ppm

As the Australian standard method and the CARB method results are expressed in different units, the EWPAA tested a number of products using both methods (as attached). The purpose was to develop a suitable comparison between the two methods and evaluate relative compliance of Australian manufactured products to US standards.

The results show that Particleboard, MDF, and thin MDF that meet either E0 or Super E0 Australian standards are equivalent or below (better than) the ULEF limits as designated by CARB Phase II emission thresholds.

This dialogue post is a request to confirm that products that meet the E0 or Super E0 standards are an international (Australian) equivalent to the ULEF limits for Particleboard, MDF, and thin MDF, and therefore exception I10-E11 can be applied for systems furniture substrates and cabinetry.


Super E0 or E0 rated hardwood plywood, particleboard, MDF, or thin MDF may be used for furniture substrates or cabinets under I10-E11 Composite Wood Sheet Goods since Super E0 and E0 thresholds are stricter than or equivalent to CARB Phase II thresholds for all those products.  MDF or thin MDF with an E1 rating may also be used (but not hardwood plywood or particleboard with an E1 rating, due to lower emissions caps of .05 ppm and .09 ppm respectively). See attached documents regarding formaldehyde emissions: 
  • ACTM  Final Regulation Order: Table 1- Phase 1 and Phase 2 Emission Standards for Hardwood, Plywood, Particleboard, and Medium Density Fiberboard, p7
  • EWPAA : Table 1- Formaldehyde Emissions Classes from Australian and New Zealand Standards, p7.

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