The North American composite panel industry has been raising prices to cover the cost of meeting California’s new formaldehyde emission standards, says US-based market reporting magazine Random Lengths.

Manufacturers have to comply with the second phase of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) plan to reduce formaldehyde emissions by January 1, 2011. Phase 1 came into effect in 2008.

Under Phase II, producers must use new, higher-cost resin that has a longer setting time and requires presses to run slower.

The regulations apply to all composite panels and finished goods made from them that are sold in California, Random Lengths reported in October.

Producers confident their products will not reach California could avoid the changes until they become federal law in 2013 but most producers are unwilling to take that risk and see CARB’s rules as a de facto national standard.