Do you have flooring that contains formaldehyde?

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I just happened upon an article about faulty flooring and was quite surprised since I have not heard much about the issue.  Hence, I thought it was important to bring this information to our clients and followers of our blogs so that they are educated on this matter.

There have been federal investigations that have found some laminate wood flooring contains excessive levels of formaldehyde.  This type of flooring was being sold by Lumber Liquidators which claimed they bought the flooring from Chinese manufactures.

Due to the amount of news articles, Lumber Liquidators announced this past Spring that they would suspend the sale of laminate floors sourced from Chinese manufacturers. By May they said they would stop selling laminate flooring from China, but the company insists the material is not unsafe.

Formaldehyde is commonly used in the manufacture of laminate flooring, but usually in such small levels that it dissipates quickly. If employed in excess, the chemical can remain in the flooring even after it’s been installed. Prolonged, continued exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to numerous health problems ranging from nausea to increased cancer risk. Children are more susceptible than adults to the toxic effects of formaldehyde.

Lumber Liquidators’ alleged formaldehyde problem first came to light in the U.S. in a 2013 report by hedge fund analyst Xuhua Zhou. After that, the company was spotlighted again after a 60 Minutes story on the issue (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/lumber-liquidators-linked-to-health-and-safety-violations/), along with several lawsuits and an federal investigation.

Formaldehyde concerns have also been raised about some flooring sold at  Lowe’s. A recent report, also from Seeking Alpha’s Zhou, alleged that at least one brand of flooring sold at the store testing positive for high levels of formaldehyde.  Zhou obtained a sample of laminate FH/L 3603 Chocolate Cherry Hickory flooring from a Lowe’s in Texas and sent it to one of the independent labs used by 60 Minutes in its recent investigative report on Lumber Liquidators.  This particular flooring claims to be compliant with certain states strict standards for formaldehyde content, but according to the results posted by Zhou, the lab detected around ten times the allowed amount of formaldehyde.

In response the Zhou report, Lowe’s asserted that the company sells laminate flooring from “the most reputable, well-known and trusted U.S.-based flooring companies,” and provided letters from flooring vendors affirming that their products meet U.S. regulations. Also,  the company said only 10% of its laminate flooring comes from outside the U.S. and that it is aiming to remove foreign sources by July. They also pulled the product line entirely.  The flooring, sold under the Tecsun brand, was offered on Lowe’s website but not in stores.

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