Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission
For the emission of formaldehyde, the classes E1 (<12 mg/m3) and E2 (>12mg/m3) were introduced about 20 years ago by some of the Scandinavian countries, Germany and Austria to make a clear distinction between wood based panels used for outdoor and indoor (which shall not include emissions beyond class E1 for formaldehyde).
These two classes were included in harmonised product standards (hEN) under the Construction Products Regulation as reporting format and with the reference to an assessment method: EN 717-1. Therefore, these classes in the hENs allow declaring the performance of products in the countries where these requirements exist.
In the meantime, the technical developments have moved forward (a new standard — EN 16516 — is not only introducing more realistic assumptions, but also covering a number of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions and not just the emission of one VOC — formaldehyde) and even the wood industry is in some Member States promoting the idea of an emission class of E0 which is half of the emission of class E1.
In France a system of performance declaration for (construction and decorative) products has an emission class of <1 mg/m3.
While acknowledging the relevance for providing reliable information on consumer safety and a common approach for the internal market, neither the class level of emissions of formaldehyde of E1 nor the test method used for wooden products are reflecting the currently achievable performance levels or the technical feasibility of existing assessment methods.
Therefore, the Commission does not consider the introduction of a mandatory class E1 as useful to define a sufficient safety level for consumers in the EU or a sufficient performance level for construction and non-construction products.
-  305/2011/EU.