Lumber Liquidators Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘Unreliable’ Formaldehyde Test Kits

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A class action lawsuit has been filed against Lumber Liquidators alleging that it provided unreliable test kits to consumers seeking to determine whether their laminate flooring contains toxic levels of formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).

What’s the Problem?

The class action, which was filed on March 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Lumber Liquidators sold Chinese-made laminate flooring that was falsely labeled as being complaint with California emissions standards for formaldehyde, when in fact the floors contained illegal levels of the substance.

The complaint further alleges that the third-party testing kits provided by Lumber Liquidators “do not use testing methods that are commonly accepted and that CARB recommends.” Additionally, the suit claims the kits are “inherently unreliable” and “designed to under-report” the formaldehyde content in the flooring.

The class action was entered following a March 1 report aired on CBS’  “60 Minutes” which revealed that samples of Lumber Liquidators’ Chinese-made laminate floors were not complaint with California formaldehyde emissions standards, despite being labeled that they were.

“In response to the 60 Minutes report, Lumber Liquidators launched a campaign of disinformation in which it attacked the laboratories that conducted the tests showing that its products exceeded CARB limits for formaldehyde,” the class action states. “Lumber Liquidators claimed that the tests the laboratories conducted were improper because the laboratories removed the laminate coating before testing the composite core of the Lumber Liquidators flooring. In fact, CARB specifically recommends that laminate coating be removed before testing.”

The complaint represents consumers in California, Florida and Michigan who purchased the Dream Home line of laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators. Plaintiffs include multiple cancer survivors and the family of a 4-month-old baby.

Lumber Liquidators Faces Injunction Over Formaldehyde Test Kits

Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit have requested an injunction that would bar Lumber Liquidators from sending customers ‘unreliable’ do-it-yourself formaldehyde testing kits they say provide inaccurate results, according to Law 360. “The results of this campaign will potentially be catastrophic,” the plaintiffs said. “Lumber Liquidators’ public relations inspired ‘air tests’ will falsely lead some to believe that their floors  are safe, and to forgo effective measures to reduce the health risks the floors pose.”

Does Laminate Flooring Emit Toxic Levels of Formaldehyde in the Home?

The emissions tests commissioned by CBS investigators revealed formaldehyde levels in Lumber Liquidators’ Chinese flooring of 57, 93 and 268 ppb – all of which are “massively higher than the limits regulators have set to protect everyone, including children,” according to the article Answering Questions About Lumber Liquidators published in Seeking Alpha.

When investigators showed the test results to Dr. Phillip Landrigan, a leading expert on exposure to toxic chemicals, he said:

“I would say long-term exposure at that level would be risky because it would increase the risk for chronic respiratory irritation, change in a person’s lung function, increased risk of asthma. It’s not going to produce symptoms in everyone but children will be the people most likely to show symptoms at that sort of level.”

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