China China notifies WTO of revised standards for limits on hazardous substances in furniture

Limits on VOCs, hazardous elements, etc. introduced

China notifies WTO of revised standards for limits on hazardous substances in furniture

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation on August 16 submitted to the WTO a TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) notification of mandatory national standards (GB) called the “Limit of Harmful Substances of Furniture”, which revise China’s existing standards for limits on hazardous substances in furniture. Comments will be accepted for 60 days from the notification. A publication date has not been set. Here are the main changes introduced by the new standards:


Integration of two sets of standards

The following two sets of standards are integrated into a single GB.

  • GB 18584-2001 Indoor decorating and refurbishing materials–Limit of harmful substances of wood based furniture
  • GB 28481-2012 Limit of harmful substances of plastic furniture


Limits on VOC emanations

Limits on the emanation of the following VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are added.

Substance CAS Number(s) Limit (mg/m3) Products covered
Formaldehyde 50-00-0 ≤ 0.08 Indoor furniture
Benzene 71-43-2 ≤ 0.06
Toluene 108-88-3 ≤ 0.15
Xylene 95-47-6, 108-38-3, 106-42-3 ≤ 0.20
TVOC1 ≤ 0.50

1 Total Volatile Organic Compounds.


Limits on leachable hazardous elements

Limits on the following hazardous elements are added.

Substance Limit (mg/kg) Calibration coefficient for analysis (%) Products covered
Antimony ≤ 60 60 Furniture for children, infants and babies: the limits are applied to coatings on any touchable surfaces


Other furniture: the limits are applied only to color paint on furniture

Arsenic ≤ 25 60
Barium ≤ 1,000 30
Cadmium ≤ 75 30
Chromium ≤ 60 30
Lead ≤ 90 30
Mercury ≤ 60 50
Selenium ≤ 500 60


Limits on other hazardous substances

Limits on the following radionuclides and dimethyl fumarate are added.

Substance Limit(s) Products covered
Radionuclide Radium-226 Ira ≤ 1.0

Ir ≤ 1.3

Furniture with stone materials
Dimethyl fumarate ≤ 0.1 mg/kg Upholstered furniture transported by sea


The draft of the “Limit of Harmful Substances of Furniture” standards for TBT notification (in simplified Chinese) is available at

For details of the TBT notification (G/TBT/N/CHN/1558; in English), see this link:

Author / Responsibility

AOKI Kenji

Senior Consultant, EnviX Ltd.
General Director, E&H Consulting Co., Ltd.

Business Performance

Expertise in EHS (environment, health and safety) consulting in ASEAN region.
- Environmental regulations updating
- Chemical regulations consulting


MSc in Earth Science, The University of Tokyo

AOKI Kenji