Lumber Liquidators Slow to Replace ‘Toxic’ Chinese Flooring: Customer Complaints

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Lumber Liquidators customers worried their Chinese-made laminate wood floors are exposing them to unsafe levels of formaldehyde say the company is making it hard for them to test the products and get them replaced.

What’s the Problem?

April 27, 2015 – More than 10,000 Lumber Liquidators customers have requested a free home air-testing kit since last month’s ‘60 Minutes’ exposé revealed illegal levels of formaldehyde in the company’s Chinese laminate flooring.

Many customers have complained they haven’t received their test results, and Lumber Liquidators has refused to comment on how many tests have come back positive for formaldehyde.

Ryan and Kristin Brandt hired their own technician to perform an independent air quality test on their floors, which revealed emissions of 1.63 parts per million — nearly 16 times above legal limits set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is a “high risk for irreversible health issues,” according to their lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that Lumber Liquidators rejected the test results and sent them their home test kit, which they performed and sent back. They are still waiting to hear back.

The home of one person who received her air quality results from Lumber Liquidators has tested above several national standards; however, the company told her the formaldehyde levels were not high enough to justify replacing the floors.

Patricia Cottington of North Fork, CA, requested 2 home air test kits around Mar. 12, according to her lawsuit. On Apr. 10, she received a report from the lab hired by Lumber Liquidators saying her test revealed a formaldehyde exposure of 0.038 ppm.

The lab stated that “any results which exceed 0.81 ppm warrant a re-test or further evaluation,” referencing a World Health Organization (WHO) standard of .81 ppm.

Lumber Liquidators said it went with WHO guidelines because they are the “international consensus standard.”

However, CARB has set a lower limit on formaldehyde, especially in a home setting, where exposures can be 24 hours a day for small children.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has recommended that formaldehyde levels not exceed 0.002 for chronic exposure, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has a minimum risk level for chronic exposure at 0.008 ppm.

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