Report: Lumber Liquidators Products Contain FormaldehydeMarch 12, 2015
A recent report on the CBS-TV news magazine show “60 Minutes” revealed that Chinese-made laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators contains excessive amounts of formaldehyde. The report profiled environmental activist Denny Larson and environmental attorney Richard Drury. Mr. Larson and Mr. Drury have filed a lawsuit on behalf of California homeowners. The suit alleges that Lumber Liquidators has violated California environmental laws regarding the concentrations of formaldehyde in their products.
Laminate Flooring Adhesives Contain Formaldehyde
Laminate flooring consists of layers of wood, fiber board and paper glued together to resemble wood planks. The adhesives used in making the laminate flooring planks often contain formaldehyde. While state and federal laws allow for the use of formaldehyde in these adhesives, the tested samples from Lumber Liquidators showed some of the highest levels ever recorded. Some of the adhesives used in laminate plank manufacturing facilities in China have some of the highest concentrations of formaldehyde, according to the “60 Minutes” report.
Testing Shows Excessive Formaldehyde
Mr. Drury and Mr. Larson commissioned a series of tests on more than 150 boxes of Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring. The tests, conducted by independent laboratories, showed that many of the samples contained six to seven times the legal maximum concentration of formaldehyde. The tests also found several samples that contained up to 20 times the legal maximum amounts of formaldehyde. In the “60 Minutes” report, Mr. Drury told reporter Anderson Cooper that the formaldehyde concentrations in some samples were so high that “one of our test labs thought their machine might be broken.”
Dangers Of Formaldehyde Exposure
Mr. Cooper also interviewed Dr. Philip Landrigan, a specialist in environmental pediatrics at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Landrigan told Mr. Cooper that long-term exposure to high concentrations of formaldehyde could increase the risk of asthma, lung irritation and decreased lung function in children. Other dangers of formaldehyde exposure include eye and throat irritation at low levels and nasopharyngeal cancer and myeloid leukemia at high levels.
Formaldehyde Concentrations Violate State Law
The packages Mr. Drury and Mr. Larson had tested were labeled as “CARB Phase 2 Compliant”, referring to the standards set by the California Air Resources Board. The Board establishes a strict set of standards for formaldehyde emissions in 2010. The formaldehyde lawsuit alleges that the Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring products violate the CARB standards and that labeling them as “CARB Phase 2 Compliant” constitutes fraud and deceptive trade practices.
Chinese Mill Managers Acknowledge High Formaldehyde Levels
As part of the report, “60 Minutes” sent investigators with hidden cameras to determine why Lumber Liquidators distributed laminate flooring products with high concentrations of formaldehyde. The investigators recorded the interviews with hidden cameras. In at least three instances, the mill managers admitted that the mills used adhesives with high levels of formaldehyde to save the company 10-15 percent in its manufacturing costs. They also admitted to labeling products they knew contained high amounts of formaldehyde as CARB 2.
Source: CBS News
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