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Flooring Giant Nets Safety Victory

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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Federal product safety officials have ended a yearlong investigation into the nation’s largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring without issuing a product recall.

Sparked by a 60 Minutes segment that aired March 1, 2015, Lumber Liquidators has been in the hot seat concerning alleged excessive formaldehyde levels in laminate flooring made in China.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and several other federal agencies have worked to determine any potential health risk associated with the products.

laminate flooring
© iStock.com / frentusha

Product safety authorities determined that none of the floors tested above the CPSC safety guidelines.

Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, is a common ingredient in the glue used in laminate flooring and other pressed-wood products.

Thousands of Tests

The CPSC decision not to issue a recall comes after the Toano, VA-based flooring company conducted air quality testing in more than 17,000 households. Certified third-party emissions tests were also performed for 1,300 of those consumer’s floors. 

Health risks were also evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances Registry.

The product safety regulators determined that none of the floors tested above its safety guidelines and thus did not warrant a recall.

Corrective Measures

In the midst of the CPSC investigation, Lumber Liquidators suspended the sale of the products in May 2015, its CEO quit and the company offered its customers free air-quality test kits.

While it did not issue a recall, the CPSC said the company has agreed to not resume the sale of laminate flooring made in China.

Lumber Liquidators has further agreed to continue to offer free testing to the more than 600,000 customers nationwide who purchased Chinese-made laminate flooring through Lumber Liquidators from 2011 through May 2015.

respiratory

©iStock.com / anyaberkut

Exposure to higher-end levels of formaldehyde in indoor air could result in eye, nose and throat irritation for anyone and a risk of cancer (six to 30 cases per 100,000 people), according to the CDC.

The CPSC notes that in homes where the Chinese-made laminate flooring is found to emit elevated levels of formaldehyde, the company has agreed to provide any required remediation. Exposure to higher-end levels of formaldehyde in indoor air could result in eye, nose and throat irritation and a risk of cancer (six to 30 cases per 100,000 people), according to the CDC.

The regulators warn consumers against pulling up Chinese-made laminate flooring as it could expose residents to increased formaldehyde levels.

Consumers should contact Lumber Liquidators to participate in the free testing program, the commission said.

A Pleasing Result

The company says it was pleased with the result of CPSC’s investigation.

“This affirms what we did,” Lumber Liquidators’ CEO John Presley told Bloomberg. “We stopped selling the product, and we tested the product and tests came back as we expected.”

The site also reported that Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. shares surged after the CPSC announcement.

   

Tagged categories: Building materials; Construction chemicals; Flooring system; Floors; Health and safety; Safety

Comment from peter gibson, (6/23/2016, 12:50 PM)

Typical. Scare tactics from TV stations to get ratings; just destroyed a business. The damage has already been done.More hysteria over chemicals that pose no harm. Once the propaganda is out there it is impossible to undo. We see this all the time.


Comment from M. Halliwell, (6/24/2016, 10:54 AM)

I'll admit that I have a certain level of skepticism these days about anything the North American media put out...lots of sensationalism and "give 'em what sells". It's nice to know that the product was vindicated, though with the proportional number of recalls for Chinese manufactured goods I'll admit that in my mind the initial reports could just as easily have been true. Still, I will always take chemical concerns seriously until proven otherwise...we put these materials (and so many others) into a closed environment (our houses) where air exchange rates have been greatly reduced to improve heating and cooling efficiency. We also spend a lot of time there leading to chronic exposures (like 10 hr/d, 12 hr/d, 16 hr/d or sometimes even more)...where I live, going from an 8 hr exposure to a 12 hr exposure drops permissible exposure concentrations by 1/2. I'll certainly agree that this story was sensationalized and made Lumber Liquidators look bad, but formaldehyde is not one of the "chemicals that pose no harm." Valid concern, but should have been handled better.


Comment from peter gibson, (6/27/2016, 12:39 PM)

It wasn't handled as a valid concern, but as a completely harmful chemical. It is net the job of TV networks to tell the chemical industry what is harmful or not.We don't need TV to give the public a heads up.Most people are dumb and overreact to these reports. Just give the populace more stupid sports and leave us the hell alone.


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