Flooring contractors who install laminated wood floors from Lumber Liquidators may have been exposed to dangerous levels of formaldehyde while cutting, breathing in dust, and installing floors. If you developed health problems, you may be entitled to compensation for your illness, medical expenses, and more.
What is the problem?
Lumber Liquidators, a U.S.-based wholesaler of hardwood and laminate flooring, is accused of selling Chinese-made laminate floors that contain toxic levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemical.
Formaldehyde is commonly used in the glue that binds sawdust particles in the “core” board under the scratch-resistant laminate surface. It also vaporizes into a gas at room temperature and pollutes the air.
Because formaldehyde is toxic, safety standards for emissions have been set by California Air Resources Board (CARB). Laminate floors sold by Lumber Liquidators were labeled as compliant with CARB standards, but tests on dozens of samples have found dangerously high levels of formaldehyde.
These allegations were first raised in 2013, but didn’t go mainstream until a “60 Minutes” program aired in March 2015.
The news program reported that 30 out of 31 samples of Chinese laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators contained between six and 20-times the amount of formaldehyde permitted under CARB standards. When an undercover team went to China, managers at three factories openly admitted that products sold to Lumber Liquidators were marked as CARB-compliant when in fact they were not.
Laminate Flooring Installer & Contractor Lawsuit
Installing laminate wood flooring is associated with health risks due to formaldehyde. Sawing, sanding, and machining wood products can produce dust. Airborne dust can cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritation. Wood dust and formaldehyde are known to cause cancer in humans.
Exposure to dust can be reduced by using power tools with a dust collector. Flooring installers can also reduce dust contact with skin and eyes by using a dust mask.
Unfortunately, formaldehyde emissions (“off-gassing”) cannot be controlled very easily from laminated wood. Poor ventilation may allow formaldehyde to accumulate in indoor air. Higher indoor temperatures and humidity also increase emissions of formaldehyde.
Short-term exposure to formaldehyde emissions is associated with the following health risks:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- And more
Long-term exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to cancer in human and animal studies. These cancers may occur in the nose, throat, sinus, nasopharynx, oropharynx, and lungs.
Studies of professionals who are exposed to formaldehyde at work, such as anatomists and embalmers, have found higher rates of leukemia and brain cancer.