Lumber Liquidators Laminate Flooring
Lumber Liquidators Accused of Selling Laminate Flooring Containing High Levels of Formaldehyde
With over 360 stores in 46 states, Lumber Liquidators is one of the largest retailers of hardwood and laminate flooring in the United States. The company has recently come under attack for their laminate flooring made in China, which according to a March 1 report by 60 Minutes contains dangerous levels of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing chemical and contributes to polluted indoor conditions with risky long-term exposure.
In the 60 Minutes report, 31 boxes of the Chinese-made laminate flooring purchased from Lumber Liquidators stores all over the country were tested to see if they met the health and safety standards of California (they chose to use Californian standards because federal standards have not yet been established), and of the 31 boxes, only one passed. The others showed levels of formaldehyde as high as 13 times the acceptable level with the testing labs reporting they had not witnessed formaldehyde levels that high.
It’s important to understand the effects of formaldehyde exposure and what your rights are if you’ve been living in a home with Lumber Liquidators’ laminate flooring.
WHY FORMALDEHYDE IS DANGEROUS
Formaldehyde is a colorless yet strong-smelling and flammable chemical that poses serious health threats during long-term exposure, especially for children. Everyone reacts differently to the chemical, with some people experiencing immediate health problems after exposure to the chemical including respiratory and sinus effects.
It wasn’t until 2011 that formaldehyde was officially listed as a known human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program, however its toxicity has been a hot topic since the 1980s, when the National Cancer Institute first began conducting studies to determine an association between formaldehyde exposure and the risk of cancer.
Common sources of formaldehyde include wood products, paints, varnishes, floor finishes, automobile exhaust and even cigarette smoke. The chemical is released as a gas or vapor into the air, which humans inhale or absorb through the skin. Formaldehyde affects everyone differently, but recent studies show a positive correlation between exposure to formaldehyde and developing leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer.
In wood products like laminate flooring, formaldehyde is used in the glues to bind wood particles together. The laminated top of this product keeps much of the formaldehyde from leaking out, but it is possible for it to escape over time.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU PURCHASED LUMBER LIQUIDATORS’ LAMINATE FLOORING
It is likely that Lumber Liquidators knowingly used laminate flooring that did not meet emission standards to save money, putting their own profits ahead of their customer’s wellbeing. When a consumer is harmed by a defective product, the manufacturer is considered liable under product liability laws.
If you have Lumber Liquidator’s laminate flooring installed in your home, there are a few things to consider before immediately ripping it out. How long has it been installed? If it was several years ago, much of the chemical may have off-gassed; if it was last week, you should immediately make sure the room is well ventilated and consider your options to replace it. To test the air quality in your home, Lumber Liquidators is offering free indoor air quality kits to any customers who request them. No matter what levels are present in your home, everyone reacts to the chemical differently.
The United States falls behind European countries and Japan when it comes to regulations on products containing formaldehyde. Emissions from the chemical are not yet federally regulated, although states like California have enacted their own standards, and as such, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will not be investigating the 60 Minutes claims against Lumber Liquidators.
With no federal investigation on the horizon, consumers will need to advocate for their own rights by contacting an experienced product liability attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for property damage and health expenses. Roberts & Roberts has a national reputation for representing clients in product defect cases and can help you establish a strong case against Lumber Liquidators.