Lumber Liquidators has faced continued investigation since 2013. However, the company came under more fire when CBS aired a 60 Minutes episode showing that Lumber Liquidators’ laminate flooring made in China contained unacceptable and dangerous levels of formaldehyde and was not in compliance with California standards. Earlier in May 2015, Lumber Liquidators suspended sales of its composite laminate flooring made in China. The flooring has been shown to include high levels of formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer and other health problems. Although some formaldehyde is legally acceptable in flooring sold in the U.S., the amount found in Lumber Liquidators flooring well exceeded acceptable levels.
California has very strict standards for how much chemicals can be in flooring. Congress adopted the limits that the California Air Resources Board set for formaldehyde emissions in wood flooring. Congress set out these standards in the Formaldehyde Standards Act in 2010, which will go in effect this year.
The CBS 60 Minutes investigation showed that Chinese-made flooring from lumber liquidators failed to meet California health and safety standards even though its labeling suggested it was in compliance. In some cases, the formaldehyde level was 20 times the amount that could legally be sold. Formaldehyde in laminate flooring can be emitted into the air of a home, and since homes are enclosed chambers, trapped formaldehyde can increase risk for various ailments. The 60 Minutes investigation included testing of over 150 boxes of Lumber Liquidators flooring in three certified labs, and the flooring failed to meet safety standards in all tests. Thirty-one boxes from other states — Virginia, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and New York — were also tested. Only one of the boxes ended up being compliant with California standards. The boxes were falsely labeled to be “CARB 2” compliant, which is meant to indicate compliance with California standards. Yet in the 60 Minutes episode, a Chinese factory worker was filmed admitting the flooring was not CARB 2 compliant. The employee at the factory said that producing CARB 2 flooring would be more expensive.
To make matters worse, Lumber Liquidators has also been accused of selling people faulty test kits that were supposed to test formaldehyde levels at home. Independent testing suggested that these tests did not measure formaldehyde levels accurately. These tests were being offered for free to homeowners as the company faced plummeting sales and investigation by federal authorities.
Dangerous levels of formaldehyde can cause serious health problems. People who had this flooring installed are ripping it out upon fears of it making them sick. Consumer claims increased as more information about Lumber Liquidators’ flooring came out. Long-term exposure can change lung function, cause respiratory irritation, increase the risk for asthma. Children are especially vulnerable at these levels. Formaldehyde can cause myeloid leukemia, nasopharyngeal cancer, respiratory issues, and eyes, nose, and throat irritation.
Victims of unsafe Lumber Liquidator flooring could recover losses due to decreased property values, the cost of ripping out the flooring and replacing it, medical expenses, and other costs.
If you think that you or a loved one may have Lumber Liquidators flooring installed in your house, or if you suspect Lumber Liquidators flooring has damaged your property or health, you should contact an attorney right away. Contact Robenalt Law for a free confidential consultation today at 216-223-7535 or fill out our online form.