June 8, 2015 — Lumber Liquidators has provided 26,000 customers with indoor air testing kits for formaldehyde, but federal regulators are questioning whether the kits are even useful.
In a report (PDF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cautioned that air testing might be useless for several reasons.
Those reasons include a lack of widely-accepted health-based standards for formaldehyde exposure. Furthermore, air testing does not provide information on the source of formaldehyde, such as laminate flooring. According to the report:
“EPA has not taken a position on the Lumber Liquidators testing program but cautions the public that air testing may not provide useful information due to the uncertainties of home air testing.”
Lumber Liquidators also sent some customers a letter stating that a “recent study” by the EPA supported the company’s conclusions about formaldehyde levels. The EPA clarified that the study was actually published in 2010 by outside researchers. The EPA cited the study in a document, but has not actually finalized regulations on formaldehyde. Those regulations were proposed in 2013 and should be finalized later this year.
Lumber Liquidators has analyzed about 3,400 of the kits and says 97% have formaldehyde levels within limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, Bloomberg Business reported that the WHO limits formaldehyde to 0.08 parts per million (ppm), but Lumber Liquidators said the “normal” range was 0.02-0.10 ppm.