March 23, 2015 — Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has asked the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate formaldehyde emissions from Chinese-made laminate wood floors sold by Lumber Liquidators.
Schumer also asked the CPSC to initiate recalls or other disciplinary actions in the flooring is found to be dangerous. He was concerned that homes in New York that were recently rebuilt after hurricane Sandy could be at risk. Apartments with poor ventilation could pose an even greater risk.
In a press release, he recommended immediate action from government safety agencies:
“The CPSC, in consultation with the EPA and CDC, should test whether this wood-flooring product, that is reportedly tainted with high levels formaldehyde, is out of compliance with industry voluntary standards for formaldehyde in household products, or worse, an immediate hazard to human health.”
Schumer also asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether Lumber Liquidators has been mislabeling their products as compliant with California’s emissions standards for formaldehyde. According to a 60 Minutes investigation that aired on March 1, Chinese mills admitted that the products were not actually compliant.
The allegations harken back to similar scandals after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast. Roughly 55,000 displaced residents of the Gulf Coast were exposed to toxic levels of formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. When homes were rebuilt, thousands of people got sick from sulfur emissions from toxic Chinese drywall installed in 2006 and 2007.