Lumber Liquidators Formaldehyde Risks to be Reviewed by U.S. CPSC

Federal safety regulators are launching an investigation into reports of formaldehyde problems with Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring, following reports that suggest the products may emit dangerous chemicals that pose a potential health risk. 

In a statement issued on March 25, U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot F. Kaye announced that the commission will conduct its own tests of the company’s flooring products, after a 60 Minutes report earlier this month found formaldehyde levels six to 20 times higher than the industry standard in laminate flooring sold in California.

Some experts suggest that tens of thousands of homes in California, and potentially hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses nationwide, may be contaminated with toxic Chinese flooring.

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“I am a parent first and foremost. As a parent of young children, I completely understand and share the strong desire parents and other consumers have to know as soon as possible whether these products present a health risk,” Kaye said in his statement. “We are taking it very seriously and moving aggressively to get the answers that consumers, especially parents of young children, desire to have.”

Kaye said the investigation will take some time, and warned that the results may not be all that clear since the health risks of formaldehyde exposure are not fully understood. He said Lumber Liquidators has so far been cooperative.

Formaldehyde is a chemical used to manufacture building materials, resins, household products and is used as an embalming agent. It is classified as a probable carcinogen by the EPA and was determined by the National Academy of Sciences to cause cancer in humans. However, the EPA has never passed regulations which set acceptable formaldehyde gas levels for flooring.

Common symptoms of exposure to formaldehyde may include respiratory symptoms, eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, chest pain, vomiting and rashes. The chemical has been linked to some forms of cancer and leukemia.

A number of states are also launching investigations into Lumber Liquidators flooring following the 60 Minutes segment and complaints from consumers. Attorneys general in both New York and Connecticut have recently announced probes into the flooring and Lumber Liquidator’s business practices, and officials in California say they are considering an investigation as well.

Lumber Liquidators has continued to defend the quality of its flooring. On its webpage, the company has issued a statement claiming that it’s flooring is safe and legal and posted its own test results indicating that its flooring meets state standards.

Amid a mounting number of Lumber Liquidator flooring lawsuits filed on behalf of homeowners throughout the U.S., a petition was filed earlier this month in the federal court system seeking to transfer the cases to one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation.

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