Lumber Liquidators Sued Over Unreliable Home Test Kits

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April 6, 2015 — Bloomberg reports that a lawsuit has accused Lumber Liquidators of providing unreliable home test kits for customers who are concerned about formaldehyde emissions.

According to the proposed class action lawsuit filed in federal court in California, the home-test kits were never independently evaluated and the do not use methods that are recommended by air-quality regulators in the state.

The plaintiffs, Ryan and Kristin Brandt, said an independent technician tested the flooring they planned to install in their home and were told it was unsafe. When they contacted Lumber Liquidators, they were told the technician’s test was inaccurate and they were told to use the home-test kit.

Lumber Liquidators said the test should be done “solely on the air in the home and not on the actual composite flooring product.” This test only checks formaldehyde in the air, not at the source.

About 10,000 people have requested the free test kits. The kits contain a plastic disc, which is placed in at least four feet above the floors for 24-48 hours. The disc is sent back to Lumber Liquidators for analysis.

If it fails, the company will do a “home health check,” which might involve air-particle counts, thermal imaging, wall samples, and examining other furnishings in the home. Even if the floors fail all of these tests, Lumber Liquidators has not confirmed whether they will pay to remove and replace the floors.

Lumber Liquidators started offering free testing kits after a scathing report by 60 Minutes accused the company of selling Chinese-made laminate wood floors that contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical.

Lumber Liquidators says 60 Minutes used an improper “deconstructive” test, which involves taking a finished product, ripping off the laminated surface, and testing emissions from the core.

Lumber Liquidators insists that the boards have acceptable formaldehyde emissions when the “Small Chamber” test is used. In tests commissioned by independent analysts, tests on the finished laminated flooring sealed in the emissions.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is currently investigating Lumber Liquidators, and they have collected samples for testing. The agency said they will not be using deconstructive testing to check formaldehyde emissions.

 

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