Certain laminate flooring made in China and sold by Lumber Liquidators poses a risk of respiratory distress and other health problems, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a Feb. 10 report.
The problems with Lumber Liquidator’s flooring were first exposed on March 1 of last year when the CBS news program 60 Minutes tested formaldehyde levels in 31 boxes of laminate flooring products purchased from Lumber Liquidator stores in five states and reported that several samples contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde.
The report caught the attention of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which conducted a more in-depth analysis of the Chinese-made laminate flooring and confirmed the presence of formaldehyde in the products. The CPSC then enlisted the help of the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in determining what health and safety risks the Lumber Liquidators flooring posed.
Exposure to high amounts of formaldehyde, especially over time, has been linked to a spectrum of problems, including nose and throat cancer, breathing problems for people with health conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and eye, nose, or throat irritation.
The higher the emissions of formaldehyde, the greater the risk of developing health problems, the CDC said, noting that the emissions are particularly harmful to young children who crawl and play on the floor and those with pre-existing respiratory illnesses.
Some consumers who installed the suspect Lumber Liquidators flooring in their homes have filed lawsuits against the company, claiming it falsely stated on its packaging that the flooring meets California’s “advanced environmental requirements,” which are among the strictest in the nation. In fact, the plaintiffs claim, some of the products contain formaldehyde levels that are 13 times higher than California Air Resources Board emission standards.