Lumber Liquidators Flooring Contains Dangerous Formaldehyde Levels: CBS News Report

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Chinese-made laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators has been found to contain toxic levels of formaldehyde that may be hazardous to human health, according to a 60 Minutes report. A CBS investigation that included more than 150 boxes of laminate flooring found that nearly every sample of Chinese laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators tested positive for formaldehyde levels that exceeded safety regulations, in many cases by large margins.

60 Minutes Exposé Raises Questions About Formaldehyde in Chinese Laminate Flooring

A 60 Minutes segment aired on March 1, 2015, revealed that Lumber Liquidators has been selling Chinese-made laminated wood flooring that contains levels of formaldehyde which exceed safety standards set by the California Air Resources Board. Formaldehyde, which is used to manufacture pressed woods, glues and preservatives, is a colorless and highly-flammable chemical that has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

“Most environmental causes of cancer are of sufficiently low risk that we don’t notice them in our daily lives,” said Dr. Bernard Goldstein, a physician and toxicologist, in an interview with Forbes. However, we do know that chemicals like formaldehyde pose serious health risks. “For flooring I’d be more concerned about acute health effects, particularly for infants crawling over the floor. Children breathe in more air relative to their small body sizes than do adults. When they work hard, as they do when they crawl or run, they will have maximal respiratory uptake of anything gassing off the floor. Pets too.”

Congress to Impose Rigorous Safety Standards for Formaldehyde in Composite Flooring

The potential health risks of formaldehyde are so great that the U.S. government will soon be rolling out new standards to regulate the toxic chemical, according to Forbes. In 2010, Congress created the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been developing a regulatory plan for enforcing the new standards, which are scheduled to take effect later this year.

Widely-used products such as particleboard, plywood, glue, permanent-press fabrics, paper and insulation material contain formaldehyde, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The chemical may be accidentally ingested and can be absorbed through the skin. Studies have linked formaldehyde to cancerous tumors of the nasal passage, myeloid leukemia and genetic mutations.

Symptoms of Formaldehyde Exposure

  • Burning, dryness, redness and itching of the eyes
  • Nasal dryness, soreness
  • Runny nose
  • Dry throat
  • Sinus congestion
  • Post-nasal drip

Secondary effects associated with formaldehyde exposure may include:

  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Excessive phlegm production
  • Repeated sinus infections
  • Eye infections
  • Bronchitis

Lumber Liquidators Sold Illegal Flooring: Bloomberg News Video

Lumber Liquidators Class Action Lawsuit

In July 2014, a class action lawsuit was filed against Lumber Liquidators on behalf of Global Community Monitor, a California non-profit corporation. The complaint accused Lumber Liquidators of marketing and distributing laminate flooring that contained formaldehyde at levels which exceeded California safety regulations, and of failing to warn consumers that their products contain formaldehyde. Products named in the class action include:

  • 8 mm Bristol County Cherry Laminate Flooring
  • 8 mm Dream Home Nirvana French Oak Laminate Flooring
  • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Antique Bamboo Laminate Flooring
  • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Oceanside Plank Bamboo Laminate Flooring
  • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Warm Springs Chestnut Laminate Flooring
  • 15 mm Dream Home St. James Sky Lakes Pine Laminate Flooring
  • 12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Chimney Tops Smoked Oak Laminate Flooring
  • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Imperial Teak Laminate Flooring
  • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Vintner’s Reserve Laminate Flooring
  • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Cape Doctor Laminate
  • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Cumberland Mountain Oak
  • And more

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