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Does CARB Compliance Matter?

Homeowners looking to update their kitchens get excited about selecting the style, color, and design of their new kitchen cabinets, but responsible renovators also consider the impact their cabinet choices have on their health and the environment. If you are wondering what on earth cabinet selection has to do with your family’s health, read further to understand why CARB 2 Compliance is important.

What is CARB?

CARB stands for California Air Resources Board which is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency, frequently referred to as the “clean air agency.” Established with the purpose of maintaining and improving air quality, the board released two phases of Composite Wood Products Regulation (CWP), both of which are now in full effect.

What is CARB 2 compliance?

The CWP regulation has to do with reducing formaldehyde emissions from a variety of woodworking products including composite wood products, particle board, plywood, and medium density fiberboard. Formaldehyde, a colorless gas known to cause nose and throat irritation, burning eyes, breathing difficulty, headaches, and nausea, is commonly used to make adhesive resins in the woodworking process. CARB 2 is a certification process intended to protect the public from airborne toxic contaminants and allow us to breathe clean air free from carcinogens. In order to be CARB 2 compliant, a product cannot exceed emission levels of .05 ppm, making this the strictest air quality measure available.

How do I know if my cabinets are CARB 2 compliant?

Every composite wood product sold in California is required to be CARB 2 compliant and should have accompanying labeling and certification. If you cannot readily identify the labeling, ask your cabinet dealer or manufacturer for more information. It is a common misconception that cabinets must be manufactured in California to meet this standard, but reputable companies will not sell products in California that are not certified CARB 2 compliant. For residents of other states, be sure to insist on CARB 2 compliance even if your state does not have guidelines in place to protect you.

At C3 Cabinetry, the health of our clients and protection of the environment is just as important to us as helping you build the kitchen of your dreams. All of our products are 100% compliant with CARB 2 defined guidelines for quality air control.

Jeni C. Powell is a freelance writer who specializes in blog posts, website content, summary and analysis, and editing. Her industry related strengths include Marketing, Education, Home Living, Construction, Legal, and Parenting. Please visit her website at

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