Three agencies collaborated to determine and evaluate formaldehyde levels of Lumber Liquidators' Chinese-made flooring. Authorities did find the toxic substance in the products and while this may cause health woes, they said the risk for cancer is low.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) tested the floorings of the company following a feature report of the news program "60 minutes" in 2015. The agency tested the same lots of the flooring samples on the show. The samples were manufactured six months to three years before and were sold at stores between 2012 and 2014.

CPSC then forwarded the findings to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to complete the evaluation. The two agencies particularly looked into the potential health impacts of the formaldehyde levels contained in the laminate flooring in question.

Cancer Risks

Inhaling high levels of formaldehyde fumes has been connected to nose and throat cancers. For the floorings, however, experts found that the exposure is low and that the chemical would not last than the duration associated with cancer.

"We estimated the risk of cancer from exposure to this flooring and it's low," says CDC.

CDC Advice

CDC says formaldehyde in flooring return to its typical levels within two years of installation. This information is something consumers, who have bought products from Lumber Liquidators from 2012-2014, can refer to.

However, those who still have concerns about possible health woes may try to reduce the levels of formaldehyde via the following methods:

  • Install exhaust fans and use it as much as possible.

  • Open windows for a few minutes during some days to let fresh air in. People with known asthma and allergy to pollen may need to take extra caution or omit this advice all together.

  • Maintain low temperature and humidity inside the house as much as possible.

  • Refrain from smoking as tobacco smoke contains formaldehyde.

  • Wash new permanent-press clothes and curtains before using.

  • For other newly-bought home items, sit it out for a while and leave it outside of the living space. Wait until the strong chemical odor is significantly reduced before putting it inside the house.

Company Response

Lumber Liquidators accepted the results of the tests, saying it supports the recommendations and share the same commitment to educate consumers.

Lumber Liquidators is based in Toano, Virginia and sells flooring in 375 outlets in North America.

Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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