Last year the popular investigative news show, 60 Minutes made the public aware of a high amount of formaldehyde levels in some laminate flooring that cause cancer. 60 Minutes uncovered dangerous levels with Lumber Liquidators’ Chinese made product that can raise the cancer risk and create or exacerbate other health problems. Lumber Liquidators is a U.S. company retailer of hardwood flooring in North America, but has manufactured much of its laminate flooring in China. Initially the  report showed the risk to be low and not significant enough to be considered a danger. But that has since been revised and noted that their calculations were inaccurate and the risk is significantly higher. The CDC, who conducted the study, put “the risk of cancer (which was originally reported to be 2-9 cases per 100,000 people) ended up being closer to 6-30 cases per 100,000 people.” Because of the findings in this report Lumber Liquidators suspended sales of its laminate flooring produced in China after the 60 Minutes episode aired. But estimates of the number of households that already have the flooring nationwide are as high as hundreds of thousands. The study was brought about by a nonprofit Global Community Monitor, and an environmental attorney Richard Drury. More than 150 boxes of laminate flooring were purchased at stores around California and sent them to three certified labs for a series of tests. The results? While laminate flooring from Home Depot and Lowes had acceptable levels of formaldehyde, as did Lumber Liquidators American made laminates but every single sample of Chinese made laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators failed to meet California formaldehyde emissions standards. The average formaldehyde level found in Lumber Liquidators’ Chinese made products were more than six to seven times above the state standard for formaldehyde, and they found some that were close to 20 times above the level that’s allowed to be sold.

So what should you do if you have these floors installed in your home? Get your floors tested. Benchmark International is the testing lab that you will want to contact.  You can email them @ [email protected].

Also, some sensible tips:

  • Keep your house filled with fresh air
  • Avoid smoking indoors (or at all)
  • Keep the home’s temperature at a comfortably low level to avoid too much heat or mold.

And of course if anyone in your family has been feeling sick and you suspect your floors are the cause, consult an attorney.

Many people who have had their floors tested for high levels of formaldehyde, have torn up the flooring and replaced it. But according to the 60 Minutes piece, don’t expect to have them replaced by the company. There has yet to be a resolution involving replacement from Lumber Liquidators.