April 8, 2015 — Lumber Liquidators has been hit with a lawsuit from a couple in Michigan who accuse the company of providing customers with formaldehyde home-test kits that are not from a third party, but from the company itself as part of a cover-up.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the lawsuit was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and names Kenneth and Casandra Barrett as plaintiffs.
The Barretts purchased about 1,500 square feet of 12-millimeter Dream Home Ispiri America’s Mission Olive Laminate Flooring at a Lumber Liquidators in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Soon afterward, they developed health problems consistent with formaldehyde exposure, including chronic runny noses and frequent headaches,
In March, 60 Minutes reported that flooring from Lumber Liquidators contained high levels of formaldehyde and was mislabeled as compliant with California Air Resource Board (CARB) laws limiting emissions.
The Barretts accuse Lumber Liquidators of launching “a campaign of disinformation” after the 60 Minutes report. According to the lawsuit:
“The third party providing the home testing kits is not independent, but is being paid by Lumber Liquidators. The testing kits being offered do not use testing methods that are commonly accepted and that CARB recommends. The tests Lumber Liquidators is offering are inherently unreliable, designed to underreport the formaldehyde levels present in the composite flooring, and are not designed to measure formaldehyde emissions from a particular source.”
The home test kit contains a plastic disc that is supposed to be placed 4 feet above the floor and remain there for 24-48 hours. The problem is that this test is not comprehensive because it only tests formaldehyde in the air, not at the source. Also, children and pets spend most of their time much closer to the floor than 4 feet.