May 7, 2015 — More than two months after concerns were raised about toxic levels of formaldehyde, Lumber Liquidators said it will pull all of its Chinese laminate flooring off the market.
The company will stop selling the products until it completes a sourcing compliance program, according to Bloomberg.
Ever since 60 Minutes reported that Lumber Liquidators was selling flooring with too much formaldehyde, the company has vigorously defended its flooring, calling it “completely safe.” Without a formal recall, the company does not have to provide customers with a remedy.
In contrast, Lowe’s immediately pulled its Tecsun line of Chinese laminate off the market on the same day an analyst said it had too much formaldehyde.
Lumber Liquidators also said Chinese suppliers certified and labeled the flooring as compliant with formaldehyde emissions limits. However, 60 Minutes recorded employees at Chinese mills who openly admitted that products for Lumber Liquidators were mislabeled as compliant.
Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is an ingredient in glues and resins inside the “core” of the board. The problem is that formaldehyde vaporizes into a gas at room temperature, especially in hot and humid environments, and “off-gassing” can be a significant health risk.
Lumber Liquidators has provided customers with about 10,000 home-testing kits to check formaldehyde in the air. Today, the company said 3,400 kits had been tested, and 97% showed lower formaldehyde air levels than what the World Health Organization considers dangerous for long-term health.
The problem with the test kits is that they only check formaldehyde in the air — not in the flooring itself, which is the source of the problem.