March 25, 2015 — The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating levels of formaldehyde in Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring made in China.
CPSC Chairman Elliot Kay issued a statement confirming they are “actively investigating” Lumber Liquidators and the company is cooperating.
Earlier this week, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) demanded an investigation from the CPSC.
Today, the CPSC confirmed they will be collecting and testing samples of flooring and considering the risks associated with “home-based exposure scenarios,” which means they will try to replicate what is in the market and in consumers’ homes.
Mr. Kay confirmed they will not be using “deconstructive” testing, which involves taking a finished product, ripping off the laminated surface, and testing formaldehyde emissions.
Recent investigations by 60 Minutes and others who have used the deconstructive method have found that the core of the board releases significantly higher levels of formaldehyde than is allowed under California law, presumably because the laminate helps “seal in” the formaldehyde gas.
Mr. Kay also said they commission is “looking at months, unfortunately, not weeks” to determine exposure levels. Furthermore, it is too early to decide what level of formaldehyde would warrant a recall. He said the science is “not fully developed on the risks associated with formaldehyde exposure, especially long term.”
The CPSC has previously warned that formaldehyde in flooring poses a number of health risks, both in the short-term and long-term. These risks are especially concerning for parents with young children who spend a lot of time at home playing or crawling on the boards.
Mr. Kay specifically addressed these concerns, and stated:
“I am a parent first and foremost. As a parent of young children, I completely understand and share the strong desire parents and other consumers have to know as soon as possible whether these products present a health risk. We are taking it very seriously and moving aggressively to get the answers that consumers, especially parents of young children, deserve to have.”