Lumber Liquidators has pulled all Chinese-made laminate flooring products off the market. Federal safety officials may demand a recall if tests show dangerous levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogenic chemical.
UPDATE: Lumber Liquidators Stops Selling Chinese Laminate Floors
May 7, 2015 — More than two months after concerns were raised about toxic levels of formaldehyde, Lumber Liquidators said it will pull all of its Chinese laminate flooring off the market until it completes a “sourcing compliance program.” Click here to read more.
Lumber Liquidators Flooring Recall
Lumber Liquidators has not recalled flooring — even Chinese-made laminate products that were found to contain levels of formaldehyde that were up to 20X higher than regulations allow, according to recent investigations by 60 Minutes.
Lumber Liquidators says the tests were inaccurate because they were “deconstructive,” meaning that formaldehyde emissions were tested from the “core” of the board after the laminate surface was removed.
Critics warn that formaldehyde is an extremely toxic chemical that can cause a number of health issues, including respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and more. Over time, even low-level exposure could potentially increase the risk of cancer.
Federal safety officials are now investigating formaldehyde emissions from the flooring. If the products are recalled, it is possible that Lumber Liquidators will need to compensate people who need to have their floors removed and replaced.
What About Bamboo Floors?
Bamboo flooring is marketed a “environmentally green,” but most products have a urea-formaldehyde (UF) glue that laminates strips of bamboo. Over time, the flooring emits formaldehyde gas that pollutes the air. There are formaldehyde-free bamboo floors, but these products are typically more expensive.
CPSC Opens Investigation
March 25, 2015 — The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot F. Kaye has confirmed that the agency will open an investigation into formaldehyde levels in Lumber Liquidators flooring.
He said it was “too early to tell” whether a recall would occur, but said:
“If we find out that we believe that there is a substantial product hazard, we will work with the company to seek a recall. … And we’ll just have to see what our health scientists come up with in terms of exposure levels.”
In most cases where a “substantial product hazard” is discovered, the CPSC comes to an agreement with the company. Occasionally, the CPSC must file a lawsuit to force the company to issue a recall. Click here to read more.
Senator Demands Recall if Flooring is Dangerous
March 22, 2015 — U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer asked the CPSC to “initiate recalls or other disciplinary action” if laminate wood flooring from Lumber Liquidators is found to contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde.
He issued the following statement:
“Lumber Liquidators is reportedly selling formaldehyde-tainted wood flooring to customers everywhere, and the federal government must step in to investigate whether this product is dangerous and if a recall or other disciplinary action must be taken.”
The CPSC is authorized to conduct a defect investigation under the Federal Hazardous Substance Act.
If the CPSC investigation finds that formaldehyde-ridden laminate flooring is a hazard to human health, or if Lumber Liquidators is not complying with industry standards to protect public health, they can create a mandatory standard and initiate a recall.