April 6, 2015 — Lumber Liquidators has been hit with a lawsuit accusing them of providing free home test kits that do not reliably check formaldehyde emissions from laminate floors, according to Bloomberg.
The proposed class action was filed in California federal court by Ryan and Kristin Brandt. They hired an independent technician to check formaldehyde emissions from flooring that planned to install in their baby’s room.
When the technician told them the floors emitted toxic levels of formaldehyde, they contacted Lumber Liquidators. The company said the technician’s test was inaccurate. Instead, they should only use their free at-home test kit.
According to the lawsuit, Lumber Liquidators said the test should be done “solely on the air in the home and not on the actual composite flooring product.”
The test is not comprehensive because it only checks formaldehyde in the air, not at the source. Furthermore, the Brandt family claims the home-test kits have not been independently evaluated and it does not use methods that are recommended by California air quality regulators.
About 10,000 people have requested the free at-home test kits from Lumber Liquidators. The test kits contain a plastic disc, which the homeowner places in an open area of installed flooring at least four feet off the ground.
After remaining there for 24-48 hours, customers note the start and end time and send the disc back to Lumber Liquidators for analysis. Results are emailed 7-10 days later. If the floors fail the test, Lumber Liquidators will send out a “home health check,” which might involve air-particle counts, thermal imaging, wall samples, and examining other furnishings in the home.
Lumber Liquidators has not indicated whether they will pay to remove and replace flooring — even if it fails all of these tests.
When the “deconstructive” test was used by 60 Minutes, 30 out of 31 samples emitted more formaldehyde than California state law allows. Lumber Liquidators says this test is inaccurate because the laminated surface helps “seal in” formaldehyde over a longer period of time.