Lowe’s, the third-largest home improvement retailer in the United States, has pulled its Tecsun brand of Chinese-made laminate wood flooring off the market over concerns that it might emit toxic levels of formaldehyde.
Tecsun Laminate Floor Recall
The recall was issued “out of an abundance of caution” after an analyst said Tecsun floors were not compliant with regulations limiting formaldehyde emissions. Lowe’s only sold Tecsun product online, not in stores.
Is Lowe’s Selling Flooring With Too Much Formaldehyde?
May 2015 — Seeking Alpha has published a report from an analyst who claims Lowe’s is selling flooring products that have excessive amounts of formaldehyde.
The analyst, Xuhua Zhou, was one of the first analysts to make those same accusations against Lumber Liquidators back in June 2013. His warnings were largely ignored until earlier this year, when 60 Minutes picked up the story.
Undercover investigators tested dozens of laminated flooring products sold by Lumber Liquidators and found that at least 30 were not compliant with regulations limiting formaldehyde emissions (CARB-2).
Zhou says investigators have found the same problem with certain flooring sold by Lowe’s. He said:
“Independent tests show that one of Lowe’s floors scores 10x the allowed formaldehyde threshold. To put that in context, 60 Minutes tested 31 samples from Lumber Liquidators; Lowe’s Chocolate Cherry Hickory would have been the third worst of all 31 samples.”
Flooring May be Mislabeled as CARB-2 Compliant
Zhou also published a transcript of conversations with representatives from Tecsun who said many Chinese-made laminated wood products were falsely labeled as CARB-compliant, but they were not.
Formaldehyde Health Problems
Many people do not realize it, but formaldehyde is a common ingredient in cheap laminated wood flooring. Formaldehyde is used in the glues or resins that bind together sawdust particles in the fiberboard “core”of the flooring.
The problem is that formaldehyde vaporizes into a gas at room temperature, and more quickly when the weather is warm and humid. Formaldehyde emissions (“off-gassing”) can cause health problems for people in the home, especially when the flooring is new.
Health problems linked to formaldehyde include:
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Skin reactions
- Brain damage
- And more