New class action lawsuits continue to be filed against Lumber Liquidator, alleging that Chinese-made laminate flooring releases dangerously high levels of formaldehyde.
At least two Lumber Liquidator class action lawsuits have been filed in recent days, including claims on behalf of home owners from Nevada and Florida who had the flooring installed in their homes and fear they may suffer health problems due to side effects of the laminate flooring.
One of the complaints was filed by Rosie Oakes, of Las Vegas, who indicates that she recently installed nearly 700 feet of Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring. Shortly thereafter, Oakes and her dog began having problems with their eyes constantly watering. In addition, her husband suddenly began having respiratory problems. It was then that she saw a segment on 60 Minutes, detailing an investigation which revealed high levels of formaldehyde in Lumber Liquidators Chinese-made laminate flooring.
The other lawsuit was filed by Jacqueline Shabel, who recently installed 59 boxes of the flooring in her vacation home in Orlando, Florida. She has a five year old son and indicates that when she called to complain about the strong chemical smell, the store where she purchased the flooring told her not to worry about it. Shortly afterwards, she also saw the 60 Minutes segment.
These are just two in a growing number of lawsuits filed in recent weeks, following a 60 Minutes report that found certain Lumber Liquidator flooring imported from China and sold in California failed to meet the state’s formaldehyde emissions standards.
Some experts suggest that tens of thousands of homes in the state, and potentially hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses nationwide, may be contaminated with toxic Chinese flooring.
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.
Investigators with a nonprofit group called Global Community Monitor says it tested more than 150 boxes of laminate flooring at various stores around California.
Researchers indicate that, on average, the Chinese-made Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring contained more than six to seven times the state standard for formaldehyde. Some samples contained nearly 20 times the acceptable amount of formaldehyde, the researchers warned.
A number of states are 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.
Earlier this month a petition was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, seeking to consolidate all Lumber Liquidator flooring lawsuits under one judge for pretrial proceedings.